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By Dennis Collin

This has been in demand for a number of years and Coinstranslate is what many users will appreciate. Basically an AutoCAD Text, Mtext and Attribute Translator. Even better its free to any subscription user through the Autodesk Apps exchange!

Recently updated for AutoCAD 2016, installation is very straightforward, for earlier versions AutoCAD 2013 to 2015 the translator needs to be installed for each user profile. However this is a fairly routine process and shouldn't be too much of an issue for most organisations.

A single user installation is very straightforward and Coins offer some instructions on their help pages  if you wish to incorporate Coinstranslate to a deployment location.

Once loaded, typing COINSTRANSLATE within AutoCAD will start the routine. When run, the user is prompted to select any text, Mtext, attributed blocks, multi-leaders, or dimensions that require translation. A dialog is then displayed allowing the user to choose the language to translate from, and the language to translate to. When choosing the language to translate from, the "Detect Language" option can be chosen (at the top of the "From" list) which will automatically try and detect the source language. For the best results though I have found it helps to know which language due to similarities of certain words.

"Translate Single and Double Quotes" controls whether quotation marks are sent to the translation engine. If your document uses these to represent feet and inches then this setting should be turned off, but if the marks are used in conventional usage then it should be enabled for best results.

As the translation utility uses the Microsoft Translator service, the CAD station does require an internet connection to run successfully.

The drawing I used to test came with an old AutoCAD training dataset. From what I could determine it was a survey drawing of a town in the Czech republic called Kosmonosy. But this probably reflects a real working scenario where you have access to some old drawings passed on from the consultant and the original drafter is not available. My knowledge of Czech is non-existent and although the translator may not do a perfect job due to the nature of the beast and the fact some of my text entities were truncated or missing special characters it seems to do a fair job. In any case it gives an idea of a drawing mark-up from what I can determine is that a  line in a survey drawing, which is missing a services description.

Having this facility direct in AutoCAD is a great benefit as it saves the user having to trawl external web sites and performing a lot of cumbersome copy and paste operations. It is not substitute of course for a professional translator or the originator of the document, but if a clue can be obtained as to the meaning of a CAD mark-up piece of text it can save a lot of time in the drawing office.