Given the success of my review of OmegaT CAT software a few years ago, it’s about time I write one for the software I currently use. As a ProZ Plus member I have a full licence for CafeTran Espresso and use it on a very regular basis.
This review will present an outline of how to use the software and its main advantages and disadvantages. I would like to say upfront that I use this software in a very basic way, primarily to translate Word documents. Nevertheless, I hope you find it useful.
How it works
1. Project setup
Starting a new project is very simple. You click 'New', and select your source file and the project folder. You then check the configuration (languages, document type, etc.) and confirm whether you would like to generate a translation memory and glossary. (There is a drag and drop option but I never use this.)
2. Importing TMs/Glossaries
Importing glossaries and translation memories is not quite so straightforward. You have to work out which option to select from the Memory and Glossary toolbars, but once you get the hang of it, it does work. Although there are several options to choose from, which can be confusing at first, the options provide flexibility when using glossaries in Excel format or when using multiple TMs or glossaries for one project.
Setting up resources
This takes time but only has to be done once (at least until the resource changes its configuration).
The template resources help you to work out which piece of code needs to go where and there is lots of information about setting up resources on the CafeTran forums/website.
You simply enter the shortcut you want to use for a particular action and click save. It couldn’t be simpler!
Edit > Spell Checker > Import, then download. I followed the online tutorial and found this quite easy.
4. Start translating
CafeTran works in much the same way as any other translation tool. The main difference is that CafeTran allows you to search all resources simultaneously. Simply highlight the term you wish to search and use your keyboard shortcut for searching either the resources, project, TMs or glossaries (all of which are configurable).
The search function and some other features offered by CafeTran are demonstrated in the video below:
- The integrated search window and ability to search multiple databases simultaneously is the number one advantage of this tool. You can also automatically enter a term simply by highlighting it! Both of these features boost productivity significantly.
- The project-based predictive text is another productivity booster, especially for repetitive projects.
- CafeTran’s user support is fairly good. I had an issue with the software crashing so I emailed their support and received a reply within 24 hours. I simply had to increase the memory CafeTran was permitted to use. I was told how to do this clearly and it resolved the problem immediately.
- Keyboard shortcuts are easy to configure.
- You can view project statistics and update them as and when required.
- CafeTran is reasonably priced in my opinion. It is included with ProZ Plus membership and is not too expensive if you’re buying it separately. One-off and subscription options are available.
- CafeTran does have an alignment function but I find it difficult to use.
- The software includes more tools that I use. For example, machine translation tools can be integrated. (I have turned this off as I prefer not to use machine translation and I have not researched its data protection implications.)
- You cannot increase the text size for all the windows (or at least I have not worked out how to). This can be annoying when you’re in the mood for some larger text.
- You don’t have total freedom over the layout of the windows.
- Like any CAT software, it is difficult to use with projects generated using other CAT tools.
- CafeTran does not handle HTML well. I had problems translating my website, which I resolved by using a combination of Cafe Tran and OmegaT. For me, this is the only major issue with CafeTran.
CafeTran is built with translators for translators, rather than for project managers. I find this refreshing and look forward to future improvements.
I hope you found this review helpful. If you have any comments or questions, please share them below.