If you are a Localization Director or Translation Technology Manager you are well aware of the astounding advances in machine translation technology. You know that connecting machine translation to your existing translation management systems (TMS) will open up a world of new use cases and take your translation efforts to the next level. But how do you get the two systems communicating with each other? Connectors.
A software connector is a bridge between two system APIs. In this case a “translator” between two translation systems. Most TMS providers try to develop connectors to technologies that enhance the business usefulness of their products.
Let’s say you’ve identified a machine translation (MT) system that fits your business requirements. Your next step is to talk to your TMS or MT provider and ask them what connectors they support. Hopefully, you’re on the road to implementation. Simple. Well, not always.
Sometimes the better choice is a custom connector. Here are 5 reasons why.
MT services outnumber TMS systems
Most major TMS providers support connectors for the largest and most popular machine translation services such as Google Translate and Microsoft Translator. But there is a rapidly growing list of new MT services offering unique technology, domain specialization (IT, Medical, Legal and more), language support, pricing and deployment options, etc. Your TMS provider may not have a connector for the MT system that suits your business objectives.
Your TMS is older or less well-known
You may have a significant investment in a TMS that has not changed with the times or has lost market share, but it is not feasible to move to another system at this time. You may have a home grown-system hosting content that you’d like to machine translate. There is no market incentive for either a TMS or MT vendor to invest in writing a connector.
Control and accountability for feature enhancements and bug fixes
Developing connectors can be complex and consume resources that a TMS or MT provider would rather spend on core features. It is not uncommon for connector feature enhancements or bug fixes to be delivered more slowly. Also, you may need a unique feature that is not prioritized highly against other customers’ requests.
You deploy on-premise or need more support
If for security or regulatory reasons your translation infrastructure is hosted on-premise, it can be difficult to pass security audits and enlist IT support. The great advantage of SaaS is that you can rely on your TMS or MT vendor to support integrations. But when you must rely on your corporate IT organization, you may need the additional engineering support a custom connector developer can provide.
Budget is a consideration, total cost of ownership
It sounds counter-intuitive, but a custom connector can be less expensive than the TMS provider’s offering. TMS and MT connector prices vary considerably. Some are inexpensive, one time licenses. Many times connectors are annual subscriptions. A custom connector developer with deep experience in translation technologies can often offer a competitive price, with features tailored to your business.
Do you need a custom MT connector?
Spartan Software is here to help. We have 10 years of deep translation experience developing connectors, translation quality systems, and custom translation integrations. Spartan has developed connectors for MS Translator, Google NMT, DeepL, Lilt MT and Amazon Translate to TMS such as SDL Worldserver and more. Contact Christine Duran at Spartan Software, Inc. to talk about your unique translation connector needs.