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.
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.
See the results below.
AutoCAD dxf source file with English captions
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!