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TMS: What is in a Name

16 October 2019 

Have you ever confused a TMS with a TMS? We bet you did. (Editor’s note: Some on Nimdzi’s team do it all the time.)

On paper, TMS stands for Translation Management System. But the localization industry has different ways to define what this name covers.

Let’s sort the terminology out, in chronological order.

#1: In the beginning, there were the CATs

Before the TMS, there were the CAT tools. 

A CAT (Computer-Assisted or Computer-Aided Translation) tool is software that allows a user to work with bilingual text – the source and the target (translation). Its core components include a translation memory (TM), a termbase (TB), and (though not necessarily) machine translation options. There’s also usually a built-in quality assurance (QA) feature included.

Over time, to get the translation job done faster and making it more scalable, those components were no longer enough. That’s how a variety of management features appeared in a CAT environment, resulting in the birth of TMS.

For easier and quicker performance, many CAT tools emerged in the cloud too. They are the essence of a TMS.

#2: Then someone made a typo and BMS was born

Some providers and users are adamant that TMS is a system that has management functionality and does not necessarily have CAT tool functionality. But we call such technology a Business Management System (BMS) since that’s exactly what it does: it helps manage business operations.

Examples of BMS on the market: Plunet, Protemos, XTRF, and others. In the Nimdzi Technology Atlas, we list about 20 systems of this kind.

#3: Behold, the TMS

Solutions that feature not only management capabilities but also CAT and quality assurance (QA) options, are called TMS.

In the Nimdzi Technology Atlas, you can find more than 100 systems of this type. It’s a crowded market!

Various TMSs have different sets of functions, but they all serve one goal: to provide content localization and management through the localization project lifecycle.

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