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In a previous post I discussed briefly the needs you must consider when picking a Translation Management System for crowdsourcing, as well as the best practices to put into place when using that TMS. Today, I’d like to compare a handful of TMSs to see if we can find the best choice for your own projects.
I chose Lokalise, Smartling, Transifex, and PhraseApp as my candidates based on word-of-mouth around campus and my own research online, and compared them using tools on Capterra and FinancesOnline. Where I could, I took advantage of free trials to try them out myself.
Removing obvious things like Translation Memory support, I made the above graph based on features I thought were the most important based on my personal experience and education — granted, I am a poor grad student, so my needs might differ some from yours.
When put like that, the two standouts are easy to see: Lokalise and Smartling. Both Lokalise and Smartling have very easy to use interfaces, and it’s a snap to get started with either without reading lengthy documentation or tutorials. Both offer robust TM and termbase support, and well as options for online collaboration. More importantly, both offer options for collaboration and web-based translation, eliminating the need to install programs and juggle spreadsheets.
However, though both would be great for certain projects, there are a few areas where Smartling comes out on top. Smartling seems much more geared toward large projects and companies, offering live training and a variety of review methods, not the least of which is allowing translators to see their translations in the finished product as they work. It also offers support for talent management, as well as options for marketers. Though both Lokalise and Smartling could get the job done, comparing all the bells and whistles side-by-side, Smartling wins out handily.
That all being said, it would be remiss of me not to mention a huge, often deciding factor: the price. Smartling is more expensive than Lokalise by a large margin. Putting aside Lokalise’s limited free account option, it starts at $40/month. Smartling starts at a whopping $200/month. However (and it’s a big however), both Smartling and Lokalise offer an Enterprise version with custom pricing. As Lokalise’s next highest option is $400/month and Smartling’s is $800/month, this could be a case where the larger the operation (and the budget) is, the more it’s worth going with Goliath over David.
If you’re looking for a product and service that promises to deliver everything you could dream of in a TMS — and if your budget can stand it — I recommend looking into Smartling.
If you’re just looking to do small-scale translations, or just don’t need all the features of Smartling, you should look into Lokalise’s free version and see if it fits your needs, and then go from there.
The real bottom line, though? There are almost as many different TMSs as there are businesses that need one. If you have the luxury of being able to shop around, your absolute best bet would be to try a few of the top contenders and see which fits your project best. Hopefully my posts have helped you get a head start!