CMS and the Manufacturing Translation Process

Many global companies use content management systems (CMS) and authoring tools to continually create and update source documentation for a variety of content, including: technical manuals, user guides and supports, marketing collateral and much more. The CMS plays an important role in the overall translation workflow and it is important that the two systems are compatible and integrated where possible.

Today, many global manufacturing companies use content management systems for their technical documentation. Companies in this sector produce vast amounts of technical content and use of a CMS reduces document creation costs and also translation costs. Certain documents types are split into modules and managed within the CMS for reuse. Technical documents are continually being updated and modified to meet changing product and global requirements.

When these modules are translated, they are also managed by the CMS in order to translate only those modules which have changed. This can lead to challenges in the overall translation workflow. Here are some suggestions to improve your process.

  • COMPLEX GRANULARITY: Localization and translation companies may only get the so-called delta for translation; that is only the modules that have changed. These modules need to be large enough, so that translators have enough context to provide a good translation. If the module requiring translation is relatively short, its translation may not fit in with any other associated modules of documents. Translators must be provided with supporting materials to ensure quality translations.
  • LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT: Modules which don’t change will not be touched; therefore, inconsistencies may occur throughout the modules, especially when terminology is adapted or translations are improved in the Translation Memories (TMs). All modules need to be checked periodically in source and target language to ensure consistency and quality.
  • STRUCTURE: CMS’s often use different databases for different products to reflect the necessary specialization and terminology of these product lines. Translation Memories need to be structured in the same way in order not to dilute the CMS approach.
  • TERMINOLOGY MANAGEMENT: As mentioned, any change in use of terminology across product lines must be applied throughout all modules and associated documentation.

To overcome these challenges, manufacturing clients must work closely with their lead language service provider (LSP) to plan and integrate the CMS and translation management system (TMS) and workflow. This will ensure accurate and quality technical translations across entire product portfolios.

If you have any questions about your CMS and TMS systems and how to improve translation efficiencies and output, please email me at


Based in Germany, Christian Zeh is Business Development Director at Welocalize.