Friday, February 27, 2009

Translating text in AutoCAD® drawings

We, as professional translators, get all kinds of files to translate, such as doc, xls, ppt, txt, which are popular formats, and others such as pdf, dxf and so on.

This is a short review of a software (shareware) called TranslateCAD developed by a professional translator/programmer. It can be used to translate text in AutoCAD drawing files, which are generally *.dxf files.

I downloaded a dxf file in English from a product catalog for water control products  on the Web, and straightway put TranslateCAD through its paces. The window it presents when you launch the application is intuitive and easy to understand -- see below.

Launch Window

Navigate to the directory containing the dxf file you wish to translate, and hit extract text. Two text files are created for you - the extracted text from the dxf file that you will use for translating the text (.*trans1.txt ), and another with the same name but with a different suffix and (.trans2.txt) that you retain as backup.

Open the file *trans1.txt in Word or any other application and translate as usual. I used WordFast to translate the text extracted from an English dxf file (760.dxf) into Japanese, cleaned the file to get only the translated Japanese text file (760trans1.txt), selected this file in the window on the right, and clicked on Re-Construct DXF.

The status window showed that the reconstruction process (insertion of translated text into the DXF file) had completed successfully. 

Status window

See the results below.

Source dxf file

AutoCAD dxf source file with English captions

Translated dxf file

AutoCAD dxf translated file with Japanese strings inserted in place

That's all there is to it. I found the application easy to use, and everything worked right the first time.

You can try out AutoCAD yourself, and since it is developed by a professional translator, you'll find it very easy to use. At $29, I think it will pay for itself after the first job, and I do think that translators who write software generally know what a translator wants and should be encouraged!

Have a great day!

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Office Research Tool

I'm back again to writing blogs after a fruitful, 'down-the-memory-lane' trip to India. In addition to my life as a professional translator, I have taken up an assignment as a naval architect (earlier part of my life) again, and am supporting a major shipbuilder in India as its Japan representative. I will continue, of course, with both jobs, and will continue to write this blog, maybe less frequently than before.

'Nuff said - let me tell you about a find in Office 2003 that I recently stumbled upon.

Try this - if you are translating Japanese text in MS Word (2003 and later, I suppose), select a Japanese term, press Alt and left-click your mouse button. This is what you should get on the right side of the window (I performed this action on "浄水"):

Translation search Scrolled down view

If the selection under the search term is "Encarta" or some other, set it to "Translation." Also, select "Japanese" and "English" in the drop down boxes corresponding to "From" and "To."

The Online Bilingual Dictionary gives decent translation and contextual phrases.

Of course, it sorely lacks hardcore technical terms, but it does have the ability to go online and look up search engines, such as Encarta, Thesaurus and others (see below).







Other references you could select other than Translation include several Financial Sites too. 

It would be wonderful I could add my own dictionary into this search facility, but I have been unable to do so. Any Word hackers around?


Have a great day!