Multilanguage Revit Families

Posted by Diane, 11 months ago

Rise of the machines: Where machines allow us to know everything! We can learn in literally 2 seconds that the sun has a radius of 695,508km, send a photograph to someone 9,554 miles away using instant messenger or translate any sentence to one of the 6,500 spoken languages in the world.

Yet we do not utilise these machines to affectively use BIM globally, this inconsistency results in increased workload and delays international business.

Many developers create Revit Families that are only readable to 20% of the Earth’s population who speak English and most importantly, parameters that only include UK standards.

The concept of BIM is to harmonise standards worldwide.

The Big Question:

A Manufacturer recently asked: What is the best practice of creating Revit Families that are usable in multiple countries? I found the question fascinating! What should be a simple answer in today’s digital world, I struggled to find an instant answer or a service already available on the market.

The Answer:

Unfortunately, It is not as simple as pressing the translate button! In the UK we have specific names for our standards, such as CEN or ISO, whereas other Counties have their own naming system and ways of measuring. When using these files, we would only want to see the parameters that apply to a particular country.

If we have a project with Revit families originating from the UK, France and Sweden, our schedule needs to know the meaning behind each parameter. For example, the Fire Rating parameter would need to gather information from each country, collate into one column, and translate into the chosen language.

To make this possible, there are two key software developments that come into play…


Global Unique Identifier – The more widely known software, although not Revit exclusive, it plays a huge role within Revit parameters. Each shared parameter has its own unique code (GUID), this is what is used when creating schedules and how all ‘Model Numbers’ are organised into the same column. Please note these must be shared parameters from a reputable source, you cannot create your own and label this as ‘Model Number’, it will not have the same code.

Product Data Sheets

Product Data Sheet (PDS) aim to provide the industry with a plain language dictionary to share product data consistently. An online platform that holds product data, updates industry standards, and translates/converts standards to any language. This methodology is being used within the industry already to ensure your Revit Families never become out of date or unusable.

The Benefits:

Accurate and up-to-date information

In a time when clients need accurate and up-to-date information at their fingertips, a platform using PDS gives manufacturers control over what data is available. A database licence where information can be removed, updated and added seamlessly to all variations of the model, no matter where in the world it is. The recommended licence will ensure that frequent standard checks are completed for all applicable languages; when a standard is updated, your file will be updated.

Translate data between countries and software

Since files can move at the speed of light across the world, data needs to become a travelling companion. Roaming different continents, meeting different people and communicating with everyone. Applying the groundwork from the offset will help to unify files no matter the origin.

The alter ego acronym for BIM is…

Better Information Modelling. It is not solely about buildings and modelling, it is how we can manage information across the whole of a business; from quotation and ordering, to manufacturing and distribution. Combining multiple processes and saved data into one easily accessible platform, your business application programming interface can streamline your whole business approach.

Be a market leader

Unlike PDFs, your digital product data is continually being tracked. This allows you to prepare customised offers and organise effective up-sale campaigns. There are many different levels of BIM, upgrading your data to be multilingual boosts the credibility of the information, which guarantees your BIM presence at the highest level.

The Cost:

It would be unfair to discuss the wonderful benefits that Multilanguage Revit Families can provide without offering some financial indication. However, the below figures are for guidance only – it is highly recommended to obtain a thorough analysis of your internal use and flow of data within an organisation before taking these numbers as fact.

Let’s assume you already have your Revit Families modelled, you have 25 chairs and 10 Tables. You are distributing these to the UK, France and Sweden.


How to implement Multilanguage Revit families.



Service Fee Quantity Total
Product Data Template £1100 2 (Chair/Table) £2,200
Translation £400 3 (UK, France and Sweden) £1,200
Licence per Country* £8500 3 £22,500
First Year Fee £28,900
Second and subsequent Yearly Fee £22,500

Please note if you have 250 chairs and 100 tables, the costs would be the same; quantities are based on templates (Chair/Table), not on variation of type (Task/Tub Chairs). * This is a sliding value, the more countries you opt for the lower this figure would be.

The Summary:

Transactable and interoperable data is the beginning of BIM Level 3. The DNA of Manufacturer’s products can now be translated and used in any computer system, anywhere around the world. Those that are taking this road are further ahead in the market and are likely to be reaping the benefits already.