Any third parties will have the potential to benefit from Translation Manager improvements (e.g. ability to send minor versions within workflow), but like Nuno pointed out Translation Review is only available with TMS and WorldServer.
At least compared to others CMS's, things unique to SDL's connector include:
- Better batch handling of translation jobs and their items. Nuno and I have heard how prospects and customers complain that some systems are too visually oriented where each page gets sent to translation and are managed individually. Batch jobs and filterable lists beat thumbnails in this case!
- Job status. Translation Manager shows how the status of jobs within the Content Manager Explorer in the "external" translation system. It seems translations.com offers something similar, at least through email notifications.
I haven't used tranlations.com's GlobalLink® Project Director Adaptor for Tridion, but based on their advertised features, these are in common with the Translation Manager "connector:"
- Browse and submit components, pages, and metadata for translation using the Tridion content management interface.
- Export content for translation from Tridion with no manual conversion or IT dependencies.
- Automatically import translations back into target publications.
We have email notification on job sends along with the status visible on jobs, but no notification on status changes (yet). Note we're able to see these statuses because of TMS and WorldServer's APIs.
The biggest difference will be in your "after market" point. We can plan, request, and discuss product changes for both content and language internally, share code and design elements more easily, and have access to customers on both sides.
But especially in the enterprise space, it's still great to have options to connect systems from different vendors (WorldServer and TMS have connectors with several Content Management Systems and vice versa). Read Nuno's post for some change leadership and a hint at what's next.
For the rest of the question, I'd recommend reaching out to translations.com for details (RFP, demo, etc.) and maybe sharing some insights with the community if they allow (we'd love to know!).
Things to ask:
- Version support and how long after a Tridion release before translations.com releases a GUI extension update
- DTAP support and practices
- References or background on how/why they created the connection
- Maybe a video for your next blog post :-)
And of course a comparison of the translation systems themselves (translation memory, costs, etc.).