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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Gabriel Aftenie said...

Hi, I bought the product for use in a large project and it works quite well. the problem arises when the label is on two rows since it does not recognize the tu as being the two rows.
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Gururaj said...

Hi Gabriel,
I received the following comment from the developer regarding your question: "Yes, we know the issue, and we are working to find a work-around. Although I must say that it is extremely difficult, as the original file is structured that way, mostly in older versions that the only text command was TEXT insted of MTEXT.Our solution will come for MTEXT objects, and needs the person who makes the drawing in the first place to use MTEXT (multi-line text) with carriage returns. (if the text is separated win TEXT comand, it is simply impossible to solve)."

Peter Cummins said...

Wow is just the simple word that may explain that how much I liked it. It was nicely stuffed with the material I was looking for. It’s great to be here though by chance.
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Gururaj Rao said...

Hi Peter, I'm happy to know that people are still reading this blog. If many of you do send comments, I might continue from where I left off many years ago. :)