Translation Management Systems are platforms that support and enhance the implementation of complex translation tasks. While a bulk of translation projects involve players who are possibly based in different locations, a TMS can bring their contributions together. Executing (or not executing) the usage of TMS is a crucial step that affects the entire translation and localization workflow. Hence, TMS selection must be based on a thorough analysis of needs that involves all stakeholders in the process.
Note that some of the main features of a TMS include workflow management, translation memory management, terminology management, cost report, and integrated machine translation. So from the very beginning, it is crucial to consider who will be using the TMS and what their needs are. Stakeholders may include marketing, product managers, developers, and of course, definitely the localization department. Whatever the needs may be — such as customizable workflows, file prep automation, data tracking and mangement — the involved parties should be able to analyze, evaluate, and prioritize them accordingly.
Once we have a list of potential TMS vendors, we can move forward to drafting a request for proposal, or RFP. This particular step allows us to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of individual TMS according to our priority needs and consider other factors such as cost as well. (On a side note, one may even consider building their own TMS that is fully customizable, as cost comes into play.)
Take a real-world example: say that ADP is looking to replace WorldServer, its current TMS. One may aspire to enhance the User Interface, reduce costs, and maintain quality translation memory (TM). The RFP mentioned above should be able to delineate how a potential TMS functions in various business scenarios that ADP may face on a day-to-day basis. Provide examples of other companies in similar circumstances that have either succeeded or failed using the potential TMS, allowing yourself to present a strong argument to defend your decision-making process.
Whether you are choosing a TMS for the first time, switching over to a new TMS, or building an internal/in-house TMS, it is a significant milestone not to be taken lightly. Thorough planning from conception to implementation is key; but when pre-production is done right, the rest will be history, and the numbers and words will prove themselves.