Translation Management System – What is it and how it works

Localizing your web and mobile app, games or other software comes with many benefits. Adding more languages increases the ability to reach a bigger audience, build trust and attract new customers.

In this article, you will learn:

The process of translating your content to different languages can be complex and fragmented if you use the wrong tools.

Some companies still use email and spreadsheets to manage localization, which means countless back-and-forths between developers, translators and project managers. As a result, even the simplest translations take so much time and are prone to more mistakes.

”There must be a better way!” you may be thinking.

And, there is – it’s called a Translation Management System or TMS.

What is Translation Management System (TMS)?

A translation management system is a software that supports the management and automation of the translation process. It helps to organize the localization workflow, track the progress of translation projects and reduce manual tasks via automation. 

Translation management systems usually include three main components:

  • CAT tool (Computer Assisted Translation)
  • Workflow automation tools
  • project management & administration

CAT tools include features that help improve translation speed, quality and consistency:

  • Translation memory – a database of sentences, or segments of texts and their translations that can be automatically reused when translating similar or identical content.
  • Glossary – a list of industry and company-specific terminology. It ensures that specific words and terms are always translated the same.
  • Machine translation – software that automatically translates texts from one language to another (e.g. Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, DeepL).

Workflow automation tools and integrations are essential since they help to automate the process of localization by reducing the manual work and saving valuable time. Such tools include API, webhooks, code repository integrations and more.

dashboard project management projects


Project management capabilities are critical for PMs monitoring the localization workflow. They need a dashboard where they can track translation progress, create and assign tasks to translators and identify bottlenecks or missed deadlines.

How can a translation management system help with localization?

There are many benefits of using a translation management system, including:

  • Improve collaboration
  • Scale quickly and lower localization costs
  • Ensure translation quality
  • Boost productivity

Improve collaboration

Managing the localization process with emails and spreadsheets is a headache. A TMS allows all the team to work and communicate in one platform and measure the overall progress.

Scale quickly and lower localization costs

Leveraging translation memory will increase the speed of your translations. You can reuse the translation content of your iOS app to your Android App with the help of translation memory.

Machine translation can quickly let you translate any text you when your translation resources are not readily available.

Both options significantly reduce the time spent translating and, thereby, lower costs.

Ensure translation quality

With translation memory and glossary, it’s possible to ensure consistent and high-quality translations across many documents and projects. So, even if translations are made by several different people, industry terms and repeated segments can be translated exactly the same.

A QA checker will automatically detect and notify about any translation errors like spelling and grammar mistakes, double spaces, missing placeholders and more.

That is especially important with legal, medical, and financial documents, where inconsistent translations can have very serious consequences.

How a translation management system works?

A translation management system like Lokalise allows to complete translations in three steps:

Step 1: Upload files for translation

Once you’ve created a new project in your TMS, the actual localization process starts with uploading files that need to be translated. That can be anything from .xliff and .xml to .csv and .json.

Step 2: Invite the team 

Send invitations to the translators and reviewers who’ll be working on the project, as well as developers and other people in the company who need to be involved. You can also assign specific tasks to certain people.

Step 3: Translate and publish

Translate to as many languages as you want and pull the translated strings back to your product. See how your product expands to other markets and gains increased attention from an international audience.

How to choose a Translation Management System?

Selecting a translation management system can be tricky. It is important that you pay attention to:

  • Features
  • Integrations
  • Ease of use and UX
  • Pricing


The better you understand your needs, the easier it will be for you to choose a TMS. Sit down with people who’ll be using the system, find out their must-have features, and move forward from there.


Integrations allow you to reduce the manual work and connect your TMS to other tools that you use on a daily basis, such as project management tools, chat apps, cloud storage, code repositories, etc.

Ease of use and UX

A clear and understandable interface can ease the overall experience for the users. In addition, it will empower the productivity of everyone involved.


Pricing matters. Choose the one which provides the best value for your money. See what pricing plans each TMS offers, which features are included and what level of support is provided.

Summing up

Translation management systems can significantly speed up your web or mobile app localization workflow. You will get:

  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Faster time-to-market
  • Lower localization costs

The sooner you start using a translation management system, the better. With Lokalise you can automate your localization workflow and start reaching audiences globally.
Try it free for 14-days!

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