The ability to share data among numerous software applications used to design and analyze products is an important aspect of computer integrated manufacturing. In the past, data sharing has been implemented by direct translation of data files, through neutral data formats, and through central shared databases. This paper describes a data sharing architecture that addresses some of the limitations of these systems. It employs a database management system as a central repository for part data in an application independent format. A configurable translator, called Datatrans, is used to transfer data between the database management system and native application data files. In this way software from multiple independent vendors or legacy software can be supported, because applications need not incorporate code specific to any database management system nor have knowledge of the centralized database schema. The translator uses grammars to define and recognize the data to be translated. The grammar is augmented with commands that are passed to the front-end of the database management system or to application programs to store and retrieve data. Thus the query language and the application commands serve as a high level interface to the underlying database and application data files. Entity transformations that are beyond the scope of a grammatical description are performed by database methods, which are available to all applications. An implementation of the system demonstrates the feasibility of this approach.