Translating Between MicroStation and AutoCAD Again?


How to use Translation Manager to get translations done right the first time and every time after that

By Rick DeWitt, Axiom Senior Product Manager
I don't care what anyone tells you, there is no such thing as a one-click, omnipotent translation button for translations between MicroStation and AutoCAD files. But you can make these translations much easier, less time consuming and far less frustrating. This is particularly true when you have to do translations at various stages throughout the same project or for the same customer, client or subcontractor.

Now there's a faster way to get translations to come out as expected. Not only that, but it's easier than ever to re-use the settings when translating files from the same customer (or contractor) or when you have to translate files from the same project at different times during the life of the project.

Translation Manager simplifies the translation process and allows you to automatically create project settings files, which can be used over and over on subsequent translations of files from the same project, vendor or contractor. Translation Manager starts off by writing everything involved in the translation process into a named "Project" file. Translation Manager continues by providing tools to evaluate the files you plan to translate and even modify the files if necessary. After that, it walks you through configuring the translation using a Wizard so you understand what each setting does and how it affects your results. When you're done, simply save all these settings into your project file and click a single button to translate all the files in your project. An optional final step — which you can also save into your project file — repairs and cleans up the translated files and makes modifications that are sometimes necessary to meet a particular CAD standard in the new output format, whether DGN or DWG.

Now there's a faster way to get translations to come out as expected. Not only that, but it's easier than ever to re-use the settings when translating files from the same customer (or contractor) or when you have to translate files from the same project at different times during the life of the project.

Now, when you need to translate the same set of files again for the next submission or you have to translate a new set of files for the same client or subcontractor, all you have to do is load your saved Translation Manager project file, select the files you want to translate and click a button. It doesn't get much easier than that.

Here's how simple it is to create and reuse your Translation Manager project file:

Create the Project

  1. Start Translation Manager and go to the "Project" menu and select "New...".
  2. Next, select the translation mode. This is where you select the type of files you're translating and what you're translating them into. In this example, I'm going to translate a batch of files from AutoCAD 2010 to MicroStation V8.
  3. Now, select Project | Save As... and create a project name for this translation project. We'll use "Hwy290toV8.pjt".
  4. Now, select the AutoCAD drawing files you want to process. You can do this by clicking the {Select...} button to the right of the "Which files do you want to translate?" field on the main Translation Manager dialog box (Figure 1), which opens the "Choose Files to Process" dialog box (Figure 2). Then, simply drag and drop your files into this dialog box from Windows Explorer or use the icons to browse or search for the files you want to translate.
  5. Click {OK} to close the dialog box and return to Translation Manager's. main dialog box. You will notice that the "Destination folder:" field shows the same folder as the files selected to translate. (If files were selected from more than one folder, the "destination folder" will be the folder of the last file in the list of files to process.) This is the location that Translation Manager will use for the translated files. Or, if you want, you can choose a different location. If you want the translated files to go into the same folder as the source files, simply turn on the checkbox for "Put each translated file into the same folder as the original file."
  6. Once these basics are established, save everything to the project file by clicking Project | Save.

Figure 2. Choosing which files to process is as easy as dragging and dropping the files (or entire directories of files) into the "Choose Files to Process" dialog box and clicking {OK}.

Translating Files the First Time
Now that the basics of the project are saved, you can have Translation Manager pre-process the files (as needed), configure and translate the files and (optionally) post-process to compress, modify or repair files after a translation. Translation Manager can do this all for you on any number of files at once. When finished, simply save the project settings, which includes a list of all the file names and the settings of every step, for future use.

Translations Done Fast and Right — Every Time
The next time you need to translate files, you can reuse your previously saved settings. This is a fast way to translate files that are from the same project, client or contractor. All you have to do is start Translation Manager, click Project | Open, select the project file that has the settings you want to use (for example, "Hwy290toV8.pjt"), select the new files you want to translate and click the {Translate} button. When the files are translated (usually just a few minutes), you can then click the {Post-process} button, if needed. A few minutes later, the properly translated files are done and ready for your submittal or use. Yes, it's that easy and that fast.

Figure 3. From Translation Manager’s main dialog box, you can easily select the translation mode, the files to translate and where to store the translated files. Using Translation Manager will not only help you get your translations done right the first time but also saves you time on the first and every subsequent translation.

As a note, you can create as many project settings files as you want for as many different types of translation projects you have. You can even open previously saved projects, make changes to the settings and then save them as a different project name for those projects that just have a few differences.

Call Now!
For more information on Translation Manager or to receive a free trial version, contact an Axiom MicroStation Consultant today! Call 727-442-7774 extension 2764, e-mail or visit Axiom on the Web at now!