The best translation software makes it simple and easy to translate existing content and digital assets for use in overseas markets.
This applies to everything from your office documents to your online content, such as webpages, into different languages.
While translation software previously suffered from limitations in how well it could perform, modern machine learning platforms mean that nuances of language can now be better accounted for, improving accuracy.
While a number of speech-to-text (opens in new tab) and text-to-speech (opens in new tab) applications and providers may offer translation services, as may some transcription services (opens in new tab), we'll focus on the more wide-ranging solutions that are needed for global businesses.
And while it remains recommended that for technical documents and other more complicated work that human readers at least proof these, in many instances good translation software should be able to provide a competent solution.
Here then are the best translation software platforms out there, to help with your multilingual needs.
GlobalLink helps organizations break down borders with website and software localization and professional translation services.
The service offers a string of applications built to manage the obstacles of localization. Each application can function independently or as part of an integrated globalization management system (GMS) to drive efficiency across the board for organizations looking to expand into foreign markets.
These apps include an IT solution for launching and maintaining multilingual websites, a localization platform that provides customized workflows, CMS integration, and multi-vendor management, a translation memory solution, plus a review portal. There's also a web-based management tool that allows translation managers to modify, review, search or delete existing terms to maintain a consistent company message.
If your organization is seeking a longer-term solution to translating communications and penetrating foreign markets, the wealth of services available with GlobalLink makes it a worthy candidate. You can grab a quote via the website.
Focusing on straight translations rather than business localization tools, Pairaphrase applies its specialist technology to translating 60 different languages for professionals.
The platform’s secure file translator tool enables organizations to batch upload and translate multiple files at a time and is able to process 24 different file types, including PowerPoint, AutoCAD, Excel, InDesign, and scanned documents. There is also a plugin available to work directly in Microsoft Word and other Microsoft Office products.
For smaller batches of text, the translation wizard tool allows users to securely copy and paste their text before scrubbing all data clean on exiting the application, storing it within the organization’s translation memory bank.
Another handy feature comes in the form of the voice-over translation, which enables users to upload a script file and receive the translated version as an MP3 or WAV file in 18 different languages. Pairaphrase also includes real-time collaboration tools that allow teams to work together no matter where they are.
Text United has built a cloud-based platform for all your translating and localization needs. Bringing together outsourced and in-house professional translators, it promises “consistent and quality translation” that outdoes the service offered by agencies working in the same market.
Text United provides a multi-faceted environment for teams to work together on projects while monitoring and editing translations throughout. These range from simple text translations for your website to complex software localizations.
Its UI is slick, modern and intuitive, allowing users to focus on the nitty gritty of their projects rather than spending time figuring out the software. Adding to the convenience is integration with third-party platforms such as Dropbox, Github, Bitbucket, SharePoint and Outlook.
Even Text United’s basic plans include features such as an overlay editor, translation memory, terminology management, machine translation and multilingual SEO support, while other plans offer more advanced features such as API support, data migration and platform integration.
Focusing on the sizeable task of software and service localization, Phrase enables organizations to collaborate with translators in a simple, fast and transparent manner. The platform is powered by API-driven software that extracts language data from source code and makes it available for localization through an online editor.
Users operate their projects from an easy-to-use dashboard that offers a real-time status of the whole translating process at a glance. You can keep track of new tasks, missing translations and texts that require proofreading with just a few clicks. When you’re away from the dashboard, Phrase allows you to receive updates on translations and comments via email, in-app notifications or through integrated messengers like Slack.
Adjusting translations is aided by a useful search function that can identify all text resources containing a certain word for a quick fix in multiple areas, while proof reading features enable other translators on the platform to swiftly verify text if required.
The Entry plan is aimed at small teams wanting to sample the service on a single project. There are various other tiers which allow for unlimited projects, while the Pro plan offers an advanced review workflow, glossary, in-context editor, as well as automated translations.
Geoworkz pitches its translation software at freelancers, agencies and enterprises alike, with a range of tools that support large-scale translations and localization projects.
Dubbed the Translation Workspace, features include a live assets tool which provides live updates to all translations, glossaries and review packages. It also offers project management tools like asset aliasing, which controls individual or group access to all live assets, thus protecting customer security.
The software comes kitted out with numerous collaboration tools, including its live, online interface which allows users to review and comment on projects. The service integrates with GeoWorkz Marketplace, a job site for multilingual experts, helping you find resources, service providers and to collaborate with other subscribers. To help you audit everything going through the platform, a reporting and analytics feature includes stats to measure costs, productivity, project scope and more.
Despite the solid range of features, the Geoworkz software feels a little old fashioned and clunky compared to other services, so it may be worth trying the free trial before committing, which are available for both freelancers and agencies and both are priced separately.
Pricing is according to the number of words required on a monthly basis, according to whether you're a freelancer, agency, or enterprise.
More translation software to consider
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Lokalize (opens in new tab) does what it says on the tin, localizing and translating mobile apps and web content for companies big and small. The service allows clients to upload localization files, then edit and translate their copy with either their own translators or Lokalise's professionals.
Transifex (opens in new tab) is another market player to consider, and offers a cloud-based platform that localizes websites, web apps and mobile apps. It brings together communities and groups to collaborate from one place, where roles can be assigned and projects managed collaboratively through to completion.
Crowdin (opens in new tab) targets developers with its web-based service that facilitates the translation of mobile apps, web apps, games, support documentation and more, to aid expansion to the global market.
OneSky (opens in new tab) is another cloud-based translation service for localizing apps, games and websites. It translates projects both big and small, from freelancer to enterprise level, with over 50 languages covered by its ‘hand-picked’ team of translators.
MotionPoint (opens in new tab) also specializes in translating and localizing websites and software, but also uses ‘complementary technologies’ for producing translated copy for social media, sales material, digital marketing and offline use.
Which translation software is best for you?
When deciding which translation service to use, first consider how accurate you need the service to be compared to cost-effectiveness. Cheaper options tend to use more automation which means more opportunities for mistakes that will need to be corrected, while more expensive options tend to focus more on human translations which have a reduced error rate. So do ensure you have a good idea of whether cost or accuracy is the most important to you when using translation services.
How we tested the best translation software
To test for the best translation software we first set up an account with the relevant provider. We then tested the translation service with a series of different texts, covering everyday wording as well as more technical ones, to gauge how accurately each translation service could cope with each type. The aim was to push each translation software platform to get an idea of both accuracy and cost-effectiveness.
Read how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar (opens in new tab).