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PDF import extension for OpenOffice may be available soon (with the new OO version 3)
Thread poster: Jerzy Czopik

Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
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Sep 11, 2008

According to the news I read in a recent computer magazine, Sun has released an extension for the upcoming OpenOffice version 3.0 (currently in late beta test stadium), which shall be able to import PDF files.
Due to the lack of time I am not able to test it at the moment, as to do so I would need to install the RC of OpenOffice 3 and then use the plugin. For my luck we do not get so many PDFs to be edited

Nevertheless, this may be a revolutionary extension and breaking news for all of us, fighting a daily battle against PDF files.
If you are interested in learing more about this extension and the new upcoming OpenOffice, take a look at this webpage.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
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Sceptical Sep 11, 2008

I'm sceptical, Jerzy. By definition, a PDF conversion routine has to "guess" the structure from the layout (layout is not the same as structure). OS conversion filters for PDF have existed for some time now (e.g. pdftohtml, KWord), but they are not very effective at reconstructing the original structure.

I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but I have a feeling that anything that facilitates PDF handling is actually counter-productive.

Marc


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
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I've wrote "may be a revolutionary" extension Sep 11, 2008

Marc P wrote:

I'm sceptical, Jerzy. By definition, a PDF conversion routine has to "guess" the structure from the layout (layout is not the same as structure). OS conversion filters for PDF have existed for some time now (e.g. pdftohtml, KWord), but they are not very effective at reconstructing the original structure.

I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but I have a feeling that anything that facilitates PDF handling is actually counter-productive.

Marc


Which means I'm quite as much sceptical as you. Nevertheless I thought the news is worth spreading and so I did.

PS
I see now - I should have written "might be".

[Edited at 2008-09-11 11:20]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
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Importer versus converter Sep 11, 2008

Marc P wrote:
By definition, a PDF conversion routine has to "guess" the structure from the layout (layout is not the same as structure). OS conversion filters for PDF have existed for some time now (e.g. pdftohtml, KWord), but they are not very effective at reconstructing the original structure.


Yes, but you're talking about tools that convert PDF to text.

I got the impression that this news item is about a tool that will open PDF in such a way that it can be edited as PDF. Such tools exist already, but they are expensive.


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Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
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The price tag is the big news! Sep 11, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:
Yes, but you're talking about tools that convert PDF to text.

I got the impression that this news item is about a tool that will open PDF in such a way that it can be edited as PDF. Such tools exist already, but they are expensive.


I'm with Sam here.

Tools that recreate the text layout from a PDF is nothing revolutionary, Abbyy FineReader has been doing this for a few years, at least half-decently.

The scoop here is that OO is open source and hence no costs involved, if you're on a budget.

For converting PDF into a fully editable layout, PDF2ID is the most advanced on the market so far:
http://www.recosoft.com/download/index.htm

But as Sam pointed out, the price tag is $249 (and even so it's only available for OSX!)


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
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Expensive? Sep 11, 2008

Of course, tools that will let you manipulate files that are not meant to be manipulated come at a price. But a few hundred bucks for a tool that will enable you to add value to your services and compete with those who shy away from buying such tools is affordable, in my opinion. I use OmniPage, and it costs much more than Abbyy. However, seeing the return on investment this piece of software alone has afforded me makes me wonder why so many people are not willing to buy it.

Of course, people in countries with less developed economies than Canada, the US and Western Europe may have to work harder to be able to afford such tools. But many of those people have shelled out much bigger bucks for their CAT tools, speech recognition, etc. I don't think OCR technology is out of reach for any of these people. I believe that many of us fail to see the value of offering OCR services, or at least incorporating them into their workflows.

But I have to agree that if someone offers software with such capabilities free of charge, that will be a big helping hand for many of us. Let's hope Sun delivers on their promise.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 12:55
English to German
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HELP..... Sep 12, 2008

Hi! processing .pdf files is a very complicated issue. Provided file scans and.pdf one could implement icen´s pdf editor and retain the format, but direct page scans. I wonder how java works here. BR Brandis

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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FineReader can't edit PDFs Sep 12, 2008

J-a-n S-ndstr-m wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
I got the impression that this news item is about a tool that will open PDF in such a way that it can be edited as PDF. Such tools exist already, but they are expensive.

Tools that recreate the text layout from a PDF is nothing revolutionary, Abbyy FineReader has been doing this for a few years, at least half-decently.


FineReader can convert PDF to DOC, but you can't edit a PDF with it.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
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Expensive Sep 12, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

But a few hundred bucks for a tool that will enable you to add value to your services and compete with those who shy away from buying such tools is affordable, in my opinion. I use OmniPage, and it costs much more than Abbyy. However, seeing the return on investment this piece of software alone has afforded me makes me wonder why so many people are not willing to buy it.


Absolutely. If a tool is worth having, it's worth paying for. If PDF2ID is as good as is claimed, I would be quite willing to pay the $249 for it. (Leaving aside the fact that I think that editing PDFs is, by definition, wrong-headed.)

The real problem is that PDF2ID not available for Linux, and OpenOffice is.

Marc


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
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My opinion too Sep 12, 2008

Marc P wrote:
...
Leaving aside the fact that I think that editing PDFs is, by definition, wrong-headed.


Indeed it is - but obviously our customers have a different view in this point.
But I also have to second what Victoria said - a price for the software is not the deciding factor, ROI is. If I can get a better paid job or a bigger one or win a customer for me with the software, than I will always consider buying it. Of course I will not buy a software for 2,000 EUR for a single job, which brings 200 EUR. But if this is a new customer with hundreds of 200 EUR jobs, I certainly would consider the software.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
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Whose fault? Sep 12, 2008

I agree, editing PDFs is waaaay wrong-headed. But I don't think the client is wrong-headed for wanting us to edit PDFs - we are wrong-headed for offering it to them. The client often doesn't know - and doesn't care - what our work consists of. To them, we are simply editing a document, and they don't care if they are PDFs. It all comes down to the same to them and they don't have a clue that editing PDFs is wrong-headed. It is the translators who accept to edit PDFs who are wrong-headed.

When a client asks us to edit PDFs, the right thing to do is either tell them that is wrong-headed and that you will not do it - or buy one of those "expensive" OCR programs so you can offer the client, for a fee, to convert their document into an editable document, the editing of which is far from wrong-headed.

Clients are not educated. Either you take the time to educate them (which they may not give to you because they often don't care) or you simply give them the choices that make sense - naturally, editing PDFs shouldn't be one such choice. And please, charge for any extra tasks that you perform, whether it be typing out the PDF or converting a PDF into Word. If we never charge for such services, the clients take them for granted and then, we will not have the choice but to buy those "expensive" tools without getting any return on the investment.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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If the client asks... Sep 12, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
When a client asks us to edit PDFs, the right thing to do is either tell them that is wrong-headed and that you will not do it - or buy one of those "expensive" OCR programs so you can offer the client...


If a client asks you to edit a PDF, and you use a tool that does OCR, then you're doing something wrong. Because PDFs can be edited, and what's more, there is nothing wrong with editing a PDF.

It is cumbersome to edit PDFs, and the tools one would use for it aren't built with translation in mind, much less TM. But it is possible to edit PDFs directly. You simply overwrite the existing text with the translation. It's easy.

Naturally there are some limitations to editing PDFs, but isn't that true of all formats? And the applications aren't free. Nitro PDF Professional costs USD 99.00, for example. But you paid a similar amount for your DOC editor or ODT editor, didn't you? So why baulk at paying for a PDF editor?


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
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Easy Sep 12, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

You simply overwrite the existing text with the translation. It's easy.


Even if the translation is longer than the original?

Marc


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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Yes... Sep 12, 2008

Marc P wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
You simply overwrite the existing text with the translation. It's easy.

Even if the translation is longer than the original?


If the translation is longer than the original, then you must compensate by making the text smaller. The same applies to PowerPoint, by the way. In fact, the same applies to word processing, if there is a page limit.

The bummer is that PDF editing is typically line-based, so there's no word-wrap, and so if you're not clever, you may need to put into practice some of the skills that folks used in the typewriter and wax sheet days.

In my opinion, a PDF editor with translation in mind would consist of two modules, namely the actual PDF editor/paster and a separate text editor with which the translator can do some formatting (eg forcing line wraps).

Note, I never said PDF editing is quick. I said it is easy (once you get the knack of it). It is not quick. But, if the client is unwilling to provide source text in CAT friendly format, and if he has money...


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
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PDF editing in Linux Sep 12, 2008

Marc P wrote:
The real problem is that PDF2ID not available for Linux, and OpenOffice is.


As a Linux user, can you tell us if this method work? I mean, is the PDF editable after it's been through GIMP and Krita, or is it an image?
http://www.wikihow.com/Edit-PDF-Files-in-Linux-Using-GIMP


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