wikiHow to Translate an Autocad Drawing Using Translation Memory and CAT

Four Methods:Text EditorAutoCADTranslateCADDwgTextTranslator

Professional translators face the challenge of translating a number of digital formats: word processing, spreadsheets, DTP, etc. The industry-standard CAT (Computer Aided Translation) software handles the majority of the formats, but AutoCAD drawings and other formats are very difficult to translate. Here are three different ways to translate AutoCAD drawings.

Method 1
Text Editor

Because DXFs are text files, you can edit them in a text editor. Depending on the language(s) you are translating, you will need a text editor that can handle Unicode characters, not just ASCII.
Advantages:

  • Costs you nothing.

Disadvantages:

  • Doesn't let you use your Translation Memories to avoid typing again repeated phrases.
  • It's difficult and time-consuming.
  • You cannot check the appearance and space occupied by text without opening the drawing in AutoCAD.
  1. Image titled Translate an Autocad Drawing Using Translation Memory and CAT Step 1
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    Get a text editor that supports Unicode (such as the freeware Babelpad).
  2. Image titled Translate an Autocad Drawing Using Translation Memory and CAT Step 2
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    Open the DXF file in the text editor and search for the word acdbMtext.
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    Search for " 1" (two spaces and a number 1).
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    The next line of text has the text within the CAD drawing. Translate the text within the text editor.
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    Repeat. Search of acbMtext again and again, translating what you find.
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    Save the DXF in the text file.

Method 2
AutoCAD

You don't need to know a whole lot about AutoCAD to edit the drawing directly, if you have access to an AutoCAD license.
Advantages:

  • Lets you translate both DWG and DXF formats in a native setting.
  • Lets you see exactly what you are doing to the drawing.

Disadvantages:

  • You must have some basic understanding of how to manipulate annotations in AutoCAD.
  • You must edit each note or annotation individually.
  • Fonts may not display correctly.
  1. Image titled Translate an Autocad Drawing Using Translation Memory and CAT Step 7
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    Open the drawing or DXF file in AutoCAD.
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    Use the MTEDIT command or, in later versions, double-click each note or annotation to edit it.
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    Use DDEDIT to change annotations in a block or border.
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    Replace the text with the translation.
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    Make sure that the resulting text displays correctly.

Method 3
TranslateCAD

The download link for "TranslateCAD" is in Sources and Citations below in this article: [1]


Advantages:

  • Easy to use, saves a lot of time.
  • Lets you use your translation memories

Disadvantages:

  • You will need to buy a license if translating more than 50 words.
  1. Image titled Translate an Autocad Drawing Using Translation Memory and CAT Step 12
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    Get a trial version of TranslateCAD, a shareware tool that makes all the hard work for you and extracts the text to a Unicode-encoded text file (the trial version lets you extract only the first 50 words).
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    Translate the text with your favorite CAT tool (Trados, WordFast, SDLX, DejaVu, etc.)
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    Regenerate the DXF file with the shareware tool.

Method 4
DwgTextTranslator

The download link for free trial dwg text translator is below in the "Sources and Citations" sections.[2]


Advantages:

  • The translator does not have to work in the AutoCAD environment.
  • The graphical formatting of elements stays unaffected after the translation.
  • Translated CAD drawings are produced in hours, not days.
  • The application is designed to be used with CAT-tools, such as Trados, Systran or DejaVu.

Disadvantages:

  • Requires Ms Excel
  1. Image titled Translate an Autocad Drawing Using Translation Memory and CAT Step 15
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    Select the drawings you want to translate. The dialog box shows you thumbnails of the drawings.
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    Run a batch that goes through the selected drawings and stores their texts in an Ms Excel table. The table has two columns; "Drawing texts" and "Target texts". The "Drawing texts" column is filled with the texts of the drawings, and the "Target texts" column is empty.
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    Translate the table (by filling the "Target text" column). You can use a CAT tool, such as Systran, Trados or DejaVu, but you can also use the applications internet CAT-tool.
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    Run another batch. This opens all the selected drawings, and translates them, fully automatically, using the updated Excel table.

Tips

  • Drawings are often stored in special databases or file locations for version control. If you are translating drawings, make sure to talk to document control about the correct routing of translated drawings.
  • Not all DXFs are created in AutoCAD. Various other programs can export DXF and DWG formats. If the drawing is likely to continue changing after you translate it, it might be better to translate the original.

Warnings

  • Some AutoCAD drawing notes and annotations may have special characters in them. Look at the list of them and be careful to preserve them exactly as the engineer, architect, or drafter intended.
  • Remember, too, that things like parentheses and brackets may alter the meaning of annotations in drawings, so be sure to keep all such markings intact. Talk to a drafter, architect, or engineer if you need help interpreting drawings or preserving their intent.

Sources and Citations

  1. Get a trial version of TranslateCAD, a shareware tool for translations to spanish http://www.translationtospanish.com/cad/download.htm
  2. free trial dwg text translator http://dwgtexttranslator.com/Download.htm

Article Info

Categories: CAD Software