CafeTran's unique features in 9 questions


What makes CafeTran unique?

The CAT tool software business is developing very rapidly. Features that make one tool unique today are everywhere tomorrow. With this in mind, it seems that the risk of making a presentation about unique features of CafeTran is that other CAT tools will soon develop these features too, and in many cases already have. But actually, that’s no problem at all, since working in a CAT tool is not about features per se but about the philosophy behind them, and it is the user-centred philosophy behind CafeTran that makes this CAT tool unique.

How is CafeTran important to freelance translators?

For a freelance translator, the rapid development of CAT tools has been a double-edged sword. New features in CAT tools that are relevant for language industry clients aren’t necessarily helpful for freelance translators, and at worst can be downright counterproductive. This is to say that clients’ interests aren’t always on par with those of a freelance translator. Even a formal Declaration of Independence (such as that of Kilgray’s memoQ) won’t help here. What is important is that CAT tool developers put the interests of freelance translators at the core of what they do. CafeTran is made with the freelance translator at the centre of the picture, which has led to a fast and ergonomic CAT tool that can be fully adapted to your personal needs.

What is the story behind CafeTran?

CafeTran was developed by a translator who wanted to improve his own productivity and enjoyed writing software in his spare time. He released CafeTran in 2005 and ten years later, in 2015, he decided to make working on CafeTran his main job. He found an investor, a new company was founded (Collaborative Translation Networks, LLC.), a new website was built, and a new communication platform was build: the CafeTran Freshdesk.

What about the company behind CafeTran?

The company behind CafeTran is still young, but that doesn’t really matter to us freelance translators. What does matter, is that by focusing on the development of CafeTran, the developer has expressed a long-term commitment and made his own professional success contingent on our success as freelance translators.

Which aspects of a CAT tool affect your productivity?

There are many aspects of a CAT tool that can increase or reduce your productivity and affect how enjoyable the translation process is. Many aspects are out of your scope: time-consuming server-based procedures, web-based CAT tools with a limited feature set, buggy and slow software or CAT tools that cannot be adapted to your preferences or habits. So it is important for you as a freelance translator to optimise those aspects of your translation workflow, that you can influence, by choosing a CAT tool (and operating system) that best suits you and your professional needs. CafeTran can be this tool.

What is the CafeTran way?

The beauty of CafeTran is that it was developed by an independent mind, by a translator who didn’t take his ideas from the competition but created his own workflows. Since CafeTran has started to become popular, many new ideas have been presented to the developer by CafeTran users and he has listened to them all. The best ideas have been implemented in CafeTran, and this is a process that still continues. This close link between users and developer is completely unique among CAT tools.

How is CafeTran’s development unique?

CafeTran was developed without taking inspiration from other tools. This unique CafeTran approach means that it has features that cannot be found in other CAT tools. The close interaction with users means that the software is being improved constantly. And I mean improved from the perspective of us translators: not making it easier for companies to reuse our translations, but helping us to translate faster and more enjoyably, so that we can earn more in our usual working hours or even work less and spend time doing other the things we enjoy in life.

All of this may sound like yet another Declaration of Independence or dogma, but it’s actually how CafeTran develops and what makes it unique.

Who is presenting this webinar?

My name is Hans Lenting, I am a freelance translator myself and I’ve been working with CafeTran on Mac for a couple of years now. I consider myself to be independent and I have no commercial relations to the company behind CafeTran. I am giving this presentation simply because I enjoy working with CafeTran as a user, which is an experience that I want to share.

So what are CafeTran’s unique features?

It’s difficult to offer an exhaustive list of CafeTran’s unique features, so I’ll just mention some of the most useful and important, and perhaps go into greater detail in a subsequent webinar.

A summary of CafeTran’s unique features

  • Highly customisable UI: floating panes (also on secondary monitors), distraction-free full screen view, user-defined background and toolbar colours (different themes for night/day, etc.), joining of resource panes, etc.
  • Ergonomic design of screen elements, no tiny fonts in limited input boxes: great help for visually impaired translators, nearly every screen element can be enlarged
  • The magic green down arrow ⬇︎
  • Smart word selection
  • Smart case adjustment with handling of diacritics and ignoring leading numbers, bullets, etc.
  • Really smart dragging & dropping of text (e.g., from virtually anywhere in the program into the Target segment pane) with automatic case handling and handling of spaces
  • Smart & easy tag insertion (five different methods to choose from!)
  • Removal of defined characters from the target segment via a keyboard shortcut
  • Keyboard shortcut to adjust end punctuation
  • Easy correction of typos with Ctrl+Space (cycling through alternative spellings, no need to reposition the text cursor)
  • Smart text transposition feature with clever case handling
  • Easy addition of new term pairs
  • Easy addition of related term pairs
  • Easy selection of preferred target term for the rest of the session
  • Advanced Find & Replace dialogue box: smart case handling, acting on project and TM simultaneously, powerful regular expression mode, etc.
  • Automatic listing of words with unknown spelling
  • Using regular expressions for auto-assembly of separable verbs
  • Context-aware Auto-assembling (‘C-3A’)
  • Integration with TM-Town
  • Import of Terminotix Bitext files to CafeTran TMs
  • Clever Clipboard workflow
  • Special PDF workflow
  • Image paper workflow
  • Integration of a Desktop Search Tool
  • Clean TMs without formatting make easy finding and replacing possible.
  • Extremely simple and robust tab-delimited .txt glossary format
  • Built-in glossary management features
  • Built-in TMX editor that can handle TMs as regular projects, including all QA tasks (spell checking etc.). TMX files with millions of entries can be edited easily and extremely fast.
  • No loss of time for importing and indexing tasks when using glossaries, XLIFF and TMX files from clients or colleagues: you can start translating right away.
  • Automatically synced preview of MS Word documents via Dropbox or OneDrive
  • Tag grouping: less tags in your segments
  • Segment-spanning tags can be excluded from segments
  • Total Recall: SQLite databases for handling really big TMs (millions of TUs)
  • Match Bar: an alternative & easy way to insert terms and fragments into your target segment
  • Segment patterns: use segment variables (placeholders) to indicate the position where a variable part of speech has to be inserted into a rigid segment skeleton
  • And many more…
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