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how to convert a PDF file into a MS Word file
Thread poster: Maria Diaz

Maria Diaz
United States
Local time: 02:57
English to Spanish
Jul 7, 2003

My client may sometimes provide a pdf file (newsletters, brochures, etc) for translation, but needs the translation delivered in a Word file (in a two-column format, with both languages). How can I convert a pdf file to Word? Do I need special software? I've just started as a freelancer and don't have any programs yet.

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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:57
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
how did he create the PDF? Jul 7, 2003

If the PDF was created by an application, let's say Word or Excel, simply Select All, Copy and Paste. If the PDF was created using a scanner for the text, you can't.

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Gustavo Alonso
Local time: 06:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
Can you ask for the original file from which the PDF was created? Jul 8, 2003

Somebody has created the PDF file with some word processing or design tool, prior to conversion into PDF. So if your client has access to that original file it will be much better.
Otherwise, like they said, it depends on whether the text is locked or not. However it often happens that copying and pasting text and pictures from the PDF will not result in the same format in Word or other software.
Alternatively you can have some OCR software to scan the file as images and convert it to Word, depending on the quality of the PDF and how complex the design is, you can get a very good (or bad) Word file you can work on.

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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:57
English to Turkish
It takes magic ;-) Jul 8, 2003

Converting pdf files is time-consuming, and worse, nerve-wracking. So, I think it'd be fair to charge higher for such works. In fact, I remember a colleague in a forum posting on another site mentioned that whenever she told the client beforehand about such extra charges, the original word file of the document appeared as if out of magic. She insisted that in most cases the word file was available, but the clients didn't bother etc...

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Joeri Van Liefferinge  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:57
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Save as rtf Jul 8, 2003

Try saving the document as an rtf file (in Acrobat Reader). You will need to do some editing afterwards, though (replace hard returns with spaces).
If possible, ask your client to send you the original file used to create the pdf.

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how to convert a PDF file into a MS Word file

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