How to Choose and Use Translation Technology for Localization Projects

Adedamola Ojedokun
20 Apr 2024

7 min. read


Imagine you could halve your localization project costs. All while maintaining high translation quality and meeting deadlines. Sounds good? Welcome to translation technology.

Whether you are a professional translator or an entrepreneur, the skillful use of translation technology services can be a life changer. And to help you usher in that positive change, we’ve created the ultimate guide to translation tech.

What is translation technology?

Translation technology is a set of tools that streamline and automate content translation. Such technology falls into three broad categories: machine translation (MT) tools, computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, and translation management systems (TMS). These tools assist with the translation itself as well as project management and quality assurance.

The key benefits of using translation technology include:

  • Increased project efficiency: Automating repetitive tasks, such as terminology checks and formatting, frees up human translators to focus on complex and creative aspects of translation.
  • Improved translation quality: Translation technologies can help assure quality and maintain consistency in terminology and style across different languages.
  • Improved collaboration: The use of TMS enables collaboration between translators, editors, and project managers.
  • Reduced costs: Automating tasks and leveraging reusable content can help you reduce the overall cost of localization projects.

Types of modern translation technologies

Let’s take a look at three translation technologies that have revolutionized the traditional translation process.

Machine translation

Machine translation (MT) tools use algorithms to translate text or speech from one language to another without human input. Popular examples of MT engines are Google Translate, DeepL, and Microsoft Translator. There are four main types of MT engines:

  • Rule-based machine translation (RBMT) relies on a set of predefined rules about grammar, syntax, and vocabulary to translate text.
  • Example-based machine translation (EBMT) uses bilingual sentence pairs to derive rules that can be applied to produce new translations.
  • Statistical machine translation (SMT) analyzes vast amounts of existing translated content to identify statistical relationships between source and target languages.
  • Neural machine translation (NMT) uses deep learning algorithms inspired by the human brain to translate text. NMT engines are often considered the most advanced and accurate type of MT.

evolution of machine translation Source: FreeCodecamp


  • Translation is almost instant
  • Most machine translation tools have free versions


  • Low accuracy and context recognition
  • Translations require substantial human post-editing
  • No style adjustments
  • No glossary and termbase adherence

Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools

CAT tools streamline the translation process without fully automating it. Think of them as editing environments with time-saving features.

CAT tool features


  • Increased efficiency due to reuse of previous translations
  • Enhanced translation consistency
  • Cost reduction for large projects due to reuse of previous translations


  • Steep learning curve
  • Limited availability of file formats
  • Formatting issues for PDF, XLSX, and HTML
  • Limited integrations with third-party tools for designers, developers, and managers

Translation management systems (TMS)

Translation management systems are cloud-based platforms for centralization and management of the entire localization workflow. Unlike simple CAT tools for individual translators, TMS are comprehensive solutions designed to streamline localization projects for teams consisting of translators, developers, designers, and managers. TMS contain all the CAT tool functionality on top of project management features.

TMS features

  • Project management features to create, manage, and track translation projects.
  • Vendor management functionality to hire third-party translators and editors.
  • Collaboration tools to communicate and collaborate with team members and external contributors.
  • Workflow automation to eliminate repetitive tasks such as file updating, terminology management, and quality assurance.
  • Tool integrations to connect design, development, and other tools for customized localization workflows.
  • Reporting and analytics features to monitor project progress and resource allocation.
  • CAT features to boost translators’ productivity.


  • Simple management of large projects
  • Streamlined workflow due to the automation of routine translation tasks
  • Advanced quality assurance, including spell checks and termbase adherence
  • Suitable for large teams in need of constant collaboration


  • Subscription fees
  • Unsuitable for individual translators

How to choose the right translation technology

Choosing the right translation technology can make or break your localization projects. But with so many options available, how do you know you're getting the best fit?

To help you choose the right translation tech, let’s look at how MT, CAT, and TMS tools stack against each other:

MT CAT tools TMS
Ease of use Generally user-friendly and intuitive Moderate learning curve Might require training to navigate
Translation speed Almost instant Depends on human input Fast, optimized by workflow automation
Accuracy Acceptable can miss intricate details High, especially with experienced users Extremely high, blends automated and human translation
Cost efficiency Often free or low cost Requires investment in software Higher initial cost, but efficient for large projects
Integration capabilities API Very limited A wide range of integrations
Scalability Great for large volumes of text Good for individual projects Ideal for handling multiple, large-scale projects
Quality control Basic spellcheck Glossary and translation memory checks Comprehensive automated and manual checks
Best used for Quick translations, informal content Professional, detailed work Managing complex, multi-language projects
Users Casual users, content consumers Professional translators Localization managers, teams

Now, let’s see how to perform routine translation tasks using each of these tools.

How to translate documents using a TMS

Follow these steps to translate your documents with a professional TMS, Centus:

  1. Sign up to Centus
  2. Navigate to the Project dashboard and click New project

creating a new project in Centus

  1. Name the project and choose the language pair
  2. Open your project and go to the Imports section
  3. Click Select a file and add files for translation

adding files to Centus

  1. In the Editor section, review your automatically segmented content

Centus editor section

  1. Click empty values and choose among suggestions provided by Google Translate, DeepL translate, and Microsoft Translate. You can also enter translations manually or pull them from the translation memory.

  2. Edit the suggestions and click Save

  3. After completing the translation, navigate to the Export section

  4. In the dropdown menu, choose the preferred file format and click Download export

exporting files in Centus

If you are a project manager, you can use Centus to organize the translation and editing process. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. In the Contributors section, click Add people
  2. Enter the contributor’s name and choose their role from the dropdown menu

adding contributors in Centus

  1. In the Access section, select administrative permissions for the user: upload, download, manage tasks, manage contributors, manage termbases, manage keys, and view projects.
  2. Click Save

Similarly, you can create and manage permissions for project teams. This is particularly useful for large localization projects with multiple stakeholders.

Centus is a powerful translation specifically designed for managing website, app, software, document, and game translation projects. Ready to make translation easier? Try Centus now!

How to translate documents using MT

Here’s how to translate documents using a popular MT engine, Google Translate:

  1. In Google Translate, click Documents

Google Translate’s document translation feature 1

  1. Select the source and target languages
  2. Drag and drop a document
  3. Click Translate

Google Translate’s document translation feature 2

  1. Click Download translation

Translation takes just a few seconds. However, the translated document requires substantial editing by a human translator.

Using simple real-time translation technology, you cannot ensure adherence to your company’s style guides or terminology. Unlike CAT and TMS, MT tools are not suitable for professional translation.

How to translate documents using a CAT tool

Now, let’s see how to translate a document using a popular CAT tool, Trados Studio.

  1. Install Trados Studio
  2. In the Welcome section, drag and drop a document

adding source files in Trados Studio

  1. Click Translate as single document
  2. At the top of the screen, click Project Settings
  3. Click Termbases to add a termbase. If you don’t have it, click Create and add terms with their translations.

adding a termbase in Trados Studio

  1. Click Translation Memory and Automated Translation to add a translation memory. If you don’t have one, click Create and export a previously-translated document.

Adding a translation memory in Trados Studio

  1. Click on translation memory or termbase matches to insert them into the corresponding segments
  2. Translate segments and press Ctrl+Enter to save changes to the translation memory
  3. In the Review section, select Check Spelling and review the QA results

Spell check in Trados Studio

  1. In the File section, click Save

As you can see, CAT tools offer much more flexibility than basic MT tools. Using them, you can reuse previously translated content and ensure term consistency.

If you plan to use a CAT tool for your translation project, make sure to find time to familiarize yourself with its features. Usually, CAT tools are characterized by a steep learning curve, requiring substantial training. This drawback is notably absent in professional TMS, which are designed to expedite their adoption.

Parting thoughts

Now you know how to automate content localization using translation technology. Note, however, that localization automation doesn’t stop there.

Learn how to automate localization testing and app localization. Both processes are fairly easy to implement, even if you are a beginner.

Good luck!

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