The silent revolution: Cloud-based translation management systems

The silent revolution: Cloud-based translation management systems Have you ever day-dreamed about a translation management system (TMS) that provides all its features without the headaches: a TMS that doesn’t conflict with other applications; one that runs smoothly on any system including a Mac...

What’s so great about cloud-based translation management systems?

- No application to install

While some cloud-based translation management systems require users to install a thin client, such as a plug-in for Microsoft Word, many rely entirely on the functionality of a standard web browser to connect to the remote web server.
Since in all cloud-based TM systems the heavy lifting is done on the server side, users of cloud-based systems don’t have to worry about the involved, multi-step installation procedures characteristic of conventional desktop translation management products. Typically, all it takes to get started with a cloud-based system is an Internet connection and signing-up for the service.

- Up-to-date translation software, every time!

With cloud-based systems, users don’t have to worry about updating their software as maintenance is performed on the server-side. That is to say, the software vendor takes care of all updates, so users can rest assured that they always use the latest version of their software

- Translate on a Mac or mobile device? No problem!

While it is certainly true that translation management systems for non-PC operating systems have been available for more than ten years, the market-leading translation management systems run only on Windows, even today.
Since cloud-based translation management systems typically require very little processing power and memory on the user side, these systems support not only computers that run traditional operating systems (e.g. Windows, Mac OS, Linux), but also iOS- and Android-based mobile devices.

- Easy collaboration

With a cloud-based TM system, where all linguistic assets are stored on a single centralized server, sharing translation memories among multiple linguists is effortless: By granting other users access to a project, either through a simple system setup or via e-mail invitation, teams of almost any size can instantly collaborate.

- Low cost solution

Cloud-based translation management systems are typically available on a subscription basis, and users only pay for what they use, month by month. With cloud-based TM systems, there are no huge up-front costs and no long-term commitments.

What’s not to like?

- Requires constant Internet connection

While some cloud-based TM systems include an online translation tool, many do not, which is a concern for some translators. For many in this field, the Internet is an invaluable resource, without which work may become inefficient.
Fortunately, most vendors of cloud-based translation management services use cloud-based technology themselves. Instead of running web applications on their own servers, they use high bandwidth, high-availability cloud-based service providers such as Amazon EC2, Google App Engine or Rackspace. As a result, cloud-based translation management systems today have typical response times of below 10 ms (which is faster than the blink of an eye).

- Privacy issues

Yes, it is true that some of the free cloud-based translation management systems, most notably Google Translator Toolkit, by default make the translations users enter into their translation memory available to all other users of that system. To have some of their most valuable content be openly searchable on a website is a scary thought for many buyers of translation services, which is why some of these buyers now have clauses in their non-disclosure agreements with freelance translators that explicitly prohibit the use of cloud-based translation tools for their translation projects. However, it is also true that the vast majority of cloud-based translation memory products by default keeps the translations users enter absolutely private and confidential. Even users of Google Translator Toolkit and other online TM systems can turn their open TMs into private ones, invisible to all other users, by simply changing a preference setting.

You can check a couple examples like: Cloudwords, Wordbee, Lingotek or Smartling.

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