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What is EDI Translation Software? Understanding the Basics of EDI

A Complete Guide

An EDI Translator or an EDI translation software is an important part of the overall electronic data interchange software package that converts data from different non-EDI formats like XML, CSV etc. to an EDI format that is standardized in nature (follows EDI standards) and vice-versa. This means that EDI data can be converted into a non-standard format with the EDI translator as well.

Either you can develop an EDI translator in-house or buy from a third party EDI service provider. However, keep in mind that depending on your budget for your EDI project and considering your internal resources, developing it in-house and maintaining the custom code could be cumbersome and expensive. While choosing a third party EDI translation service also you have to keep the features, cost and the ease of operation in mind.

When shopping for the right EDI solution for your business, ideally, you should look for an overall integrated EDI software package that comes with an EDI translator and EDI mapper. This has been the norm for most companies in every industry. EDI mappers will convert specific data fields into corresponding segments, elements, and qualifiers between two systems. EDI translators will convert data into the format that is needed for a system both ways incoming and outgoing. Both of them work in tandem.

How does an EDI Translator work?

An EDI translator acts as a bridge between the two systems. The more the conversion process is automated, the better because it should be able to reduce manual work needed to deploy, progression of repetitive steps and upgrade when needed.

  1. Extracting and or converting the data
  2. Translating the inbound message to the needed format
  3. Transmission of the formatted message to the system

When do you need to replace your existing EDI translation software?

  1. If your software has been sunset, then you really need to start game planning to replace it. It is never good practice to continue to use a product that is retired unless you have access to the backend programming code and someone that can fix any program code issues. Most likely, you will face issues and scrambling to find resources may not be the best use of your time, effort and money.
  1. If you find yourself struggling to complete your trading partners’ EDI requests due to your EDI software, then you must talk to industry experts who can help you get the best EDI software that works for your business. Most companies make a mistake of layering other products on top of a defective product to make up for its shortcomings which is not the best practice if you are looking for best results.
  1. Increasing costs should also force you to evaluate if you are using the right EDI translation software. Just because it was the right tool when you first started out doesn’t mean it is still the right solution. Maybe your business has exploded and your current EDI software cannot handle that kind of volume and the automation needed to free up your resources.

EDI Support’s Advice

Use these step by step best practices to make your EDI process efficient:

  1. Start with documenting all your current EDI processes.
  1. Use Video walk through, written documents and gather all trading partner documentation that each one provides.
  1. Build a repository of your processes and gather raw EDI for every document you are exchanging with your trading partners. You need to gather control of everything that is occurring with EDI processes.
  1. Gain control of your EDI process now because talent/professionals are not the same for years in the organizations. You need to have a central repository that cross-functional teams or new resources can use and get started where it was left.

These steps take time and effort but are well worth investing in. You’ll thank us later!

Read next

Take a look at an EDI mapping guideline example and know how to read your trading partner’s too