This is a useful tip that has been pointed out to me by a colleague, so useful in fact I have to make sure I note it down somewhere. Until my idea is incorporated into ArcGIS this is a quick and dirty workaround for translating Arabic labels in ArcGIS.
We have received some GIS data from a client, it’s landuse in a geodatabase with Arabic labels. Trouble is our maps are needed in English! In the past we’ve tested the Microsoft translation tools (for office) against Google’s online translate tool and found that Google does a much better translation.
So how do we translate this large landuse table quickly and easily? Use Excel of course! Please note that this bullet point list assumes you know ArcGIS and Excel quite well, to instruct from a beginners point of view would be a bit to long winded for me.
- First create a field name for the English Translation in ArcGIS
- Open a new Excel document
- Copy (using this method) the table from ArcGIS into Excel.
- Create a PivotTable that lists the row labels (in this case Arabic Landuse)
- Copy and paste this list out (so the text is static, you probably don’t have to)
- Copy the Arabic text into the text box at translate.google.com
- Now Copy that English translation text list back adjacent to your Arabic landuse list into Excel
- Now you have to use some Excel magic, select the English and Arabic text and under the Formulas tab (in Excel 2007) define a name ( in this case I called it English Translate)
- Once you have done this go to the English Landuse field name column and type in code like this “=VLOOKUP(E7,EnglishTranslate,2)”. E7 is the Arabic landuse in your original table in Excel, EnglishTranslate is that Name you defined above and the number 2 is the column number of the EnglishTranslate you need to use if matched.
- Then click and drag copy this down your English translation field to check it works.
- Now copy back this data into ArcGIS or Join/Link it.
Well that’s it if you have any improvements/questions/suggestions please add them in the comments section below!