Why Cloud-based CAT Tools are Great for Translation Agencies

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We’ve already talked about why cloud-based tools are great for business. Now we’re going to return to translation and discuss the benefits of cloud-based CAT tools for translation agencies.

Cloud architecture makes Smartcat an incredibly useful tool for translation agencies of all sizes:

You only pay for what you use.

You don’t spend money on purchasing and commissioning equipment.

Scale as you need it: assign as many users as you want to a project with no need for additional licenses – Smartcat is free for translation agencies, corporate customers, and freelancers. The Smartcat team can supply extra server capacity for any global project on request.

But these aren’t the only advantages offered by a cloud-based CAT tool. Today’s technologies mean that we can combine a work environment, translator marketplace and payment tools and get rid of unnecessary paperwork. Let’s take a closer look.

Work flexibly with vendors and find new freelancers

In modern CAT tools, vendors work on a project simultaneously. It doesn’t matter if the agency is using the cloud or server version; in both cases the editor checks the text after the translator, and the proofreader immediately starts working on the edited text.

If the project manager doesn’t have a freelancer with the required expertise, they can invite in-house colleagues to join the project or choose from the translator marketplace on cloud-based Smartcat: 50,000 translators and editors from around the world waiting for orders and ready to start work right away.

This means that in the cloud program it’s much easier to connect both new freelancers and in-house employees to a project – the project manager simply sends an invitation from the cloud CAT. Server-based solutions don’t offer the same level of flexibility. Project managers spend a lot of time finding a vendor, agreeing on the terms of the project, connecting them to the existing infrastructure, and signing an agreement. And then the PM needs to update the CAT tool license and configure the confidentiality of the internal network before the translator can start work.

Transparency and oversight

In a cloud-based CAT tool, vendors work in a single environment: freelancers, in-house translators, editors, and proofreaders. Translation memories and glossaries are shared within the system, making it easy for project managers to manage reference materials and for users to work with the latest version. Project managers don’t need to allow access to corporate mail for each translator and don’t have to spend time bombarding vendors with files. All changes in the translation memory or glossary are immediately visible to every user: project managers don’t need to send updated files to every translator separately. Projects take less time.

If the project manager changes vendors or adds new ones, there’s no need to communicate the change or bring people up to speed. The cloud-based tool works online anywhere in the world – project managers don’t need alternative forms of communication.

Project managers can track freelancers’ progress online: Smartcat shows how much has been done and how much is left to do. This allows the PM to decide whether to add more people to the project or to persuade the customer to extend the deadline.

Transparency benefits everyone. Freelancers know what is expected of them and can decide if they can manage the task, while project managers have no projects in limbo or problems with vanishing translators.

Pain-free payment and document management

If the cloud-based CAT tool is connected to the freelancer marketplace, project managers don’t have to haggle over every word. Vendors display their rates, specializations, language pairs and experience at registration and upload a portfolio.

Project managers select a suitable translator and invite them to the project. The vendor has already agreed to the terms of the platform (offer) at registration; project managers don’t need them to sign any additional agreements.

The project is complete. Usually the project manager settles payments with the translators and editors – exchanges certificates and handles payments to bank accounts, money transfers and online wallets. If the project was completed in Smartcat, the project manager simply has to select the payment method: bank card, wire transfer or online payment tool.

The translation agency selects and sets the frequency of payments in their user account: after project completion or after each individual task. All other communications with vendors are handled by the Smartcat team.

Confidential and secure

The confidentiality and security of cloud services is an interesting and important topic, which is why we’re devoting an entire post to it in the near future. However, in a nutshell, cloud services are by default as reliable as email or mobile communication. In theory, they can be hacked and their data stolen, but in practice this is difficult to achieve. A company that buys a server-based solution is responsible for its maintenance, while the security of cloud-based systems is guaranteed by major IT organizations and data centers.

Smartcat, like other corporate programs, is responsible for its data security: it encrypts data, makes back-up copies and arranges non-disclosure agreements with freelancers. If a translation agency takes part in a tender that requires enhanced security (special encryption, additional agreements, tinfoil hats, Faraday cages), then the Smartcat team will customize the platform to meet these requirements. We’ll go into more detail on this topic in a future post.

Always updated

With a cloud-based CAT tool, there’s no need to install anything: the developers configure all updates without user participation.

Sometimes users require specific functionality. A cloud-based CAT tool responds swiftly to industry demands, unlike stationary software bought at some point in the past. If project managers and freelancers tell the developers about the functionality they need for their everyday work, this functionality will soon be implemented in the tool. So the benefits continue to grow.

Here’s how the Smartcat team made improvements in response to user feedback:

Translation agencies often work with tables and graphics: we need DTP specialists to be involved in projects.

DTP has become a project stage alongside translation, editing and proofreading. In the next six months, DTP specialists will join the marketplace and project managers will be able to select them from the vendor database.

When a project manager selects a translator, he evaluates their experience and qualifications.

When freelancers sign up to the marketplace they upload a portfolio – this makes it easier for project managers to make the best choice. Project managers can also test potential vendors directly in Smartcat before the start of a project.

Project managers need to have control over a project: they communicate with vendors before the project starts and discuss the terms and deadlines.

Project managers can set a deadline for each freelancer and can discuss the terms and submission of the project with each freelancer in the online chat.

No disputes

If confusion arises between a project manager and a freelancer, Smartcat can help resolve it. The platform can settle project-related issues between the translation agency and vendors within Smartcat: translation quality, payment methods, expanding project teams, etc. The only exception is when an agency refuses to pay for work completed.

Benefits of cloud CAT tools for translation agencies:

Cloud-based CAT tools are easy to implement and scale. You don’t spend money on purchasing and commissioning equipment.

It’s much easier to connect both new freelancers and in-house employees to a project – the project manager simply sends an invitation from the cloud CAT or selects from the marketplace.

The project manager supervises the process and knows how much has been translated and how much is left to do. This helps the PM adjust the number of vendors and the number of tasks.

If the cloud-based CAT tool is connected to a freelancer marketplace, project managers don’t have to worry about payment, balances, and other accounting headaches.

Cloud-based CAT tools are a reliable place to store your data. If required, the development team can enable additional security features.

Cloud-based CAT tools are automatically updated.