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Translating on PDF without a password
Thread poster: Ivana UK

Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:54
Member (2005)
Italian to English
Jun 23, 2006

I received a direct email this morning from an agency (via my proz page) requesting the following:

We have 2 PDF pages in Italian concerning Customer relationship
management in Italian that must be translated into GB English
directly in PDF without any pass word.

I didn't think you could edit a PDF doc without a password. Can anyone confirm? As always, your thoughts are much appreciated!!

Ivana


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
You can... but it is a lot of work Jun 23, 2006

Ivana Micheli wrote:
We have 2 PDF pages in Italian concerning Customer relationship management in Italian that must be translated into GB English directly in PDF without any pass word.


In some cases, you can actually edit a PDF directly, but it's not fun and it takes a long time and a lot of work (and you must have the right software, which is very expensive). So for all practical purposes you can't translate directly into the PDF. What you can do, however, is to recreate the document in a word processor such as OpenOffice.org (or MS Word if you have a PDF printer driver installed) and then export to PDF. But then the client will have to supply all the pictures and fonts to be used in the PDF (you can't simply grab it from the source PDF itself).


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Florence B  Identity Verified
France
Member (2002)
English to French
+ ...
Several ways to do this Jun 23, 2006

You can also export the document to MsWord using a software such as Pdf transformer, that's the easiest way if there's not too much layout.

If the client really needs to keep the exact layout in .pdf (technical drawings etc.) I have an excellent method, but obviously the price is much higher than usual, and yet it doesn't work in 100% of the cases:
- open the .pdf page by page either in Illustrator either in CorelDraw, and save a file for each page. (This is not a conversion, this is just opening the file - as these softwares are vector based like pdf)
- remove the line breaks
- export the text to a Word-useable format with Sysfilter if you need to use a TM (Trados or any other CAT)
- translate
- reimport the Word file into Illustrator/CorelDraw
- tweak the pages so as the lines break correctly etc.
- build a new .pdf with Acrobat (full version)

In some cases it won't even work because:
- the pdf can in fact be a sequence of image files (bitmap)
- sometimes the fonts have been saved as vector objects, not fonts - or as fonts but each and every character is an object in its own right (not logically linked to the next character) - in these cases the text cannot be exported to Word.

Florence

[Edited at 2006-06-23 17:58]


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Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:54
Polish to English
+ ...
my twopence Jun 23, 2006

AFAIK the PDF format was created just in order to prevent
from modifying the file content and to keep the page layout exactly as the author produced it.

With the content secured and without the password, the file is most probably protected against content copying (please check the "document security"). If so, all you can do is either read the text from the file using an OCR software, or print, scan and OCR-process. Or just open Adobe Acrobat (or Reader) and Word at the same time, read the text from the screen with your own eyes, and type - that's the "low technological level" method, but could be the quickest solution for as little as two pages.

Further, in a such case I just make a DOC keeping the layout nearly (as close as possible) identical to that of the original PDF, but without graphics. Then, it's my customer's (or agency's) turn to complement the text with graphics.

Yet, Adobe Acrobat does feature a "text touch-up function". I tried it once, but this function only allows replacing on a word-for-word basis and operates very very slowly.

BTW I would be interested in any info on software for directly editing PDF files.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:54
German to English
+ ...
Translating on PDF without a password Jun 23, 2006

Not sure what "without any pass word" means - the file is not password-protected, or no password is needed? Could be either.

Andrzej is right: PDFs are not designed for editing and any solutions for doing so are the equivalent of "translating directly on the paper" using Tipp-Ex®.

If you want to try it though, you don't necessarily need Acrobat: it can be done with Fytek's PDF Meld. It only costs $15, and there's a demo version available for download here:

www.fytek.com/products.php?pg=pdfmeld

Marc


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Armando Diaz  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
There are some ways to cheat the password... Jun 23, 2006

ABBY Reader OCR software in its latest version will read the document and translate it into Word/Word Perfect, regardless of the password. So the document could be converted into another format and worked with. That is what I do.


www.abbyy.com


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Alexey Ivanov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 05:54
English to Russian
You can do it with the right software even including the graphics Jun 23, 2006

You can export the text into MS Word using Abbyy PDF Transformer ($30). Then using any DTP application (I use InDesign CS2 - $575)you copy the PDF original file into your DTP application and create a new DTP file copying the position of each text or image frame. And after translating the text using any CAT tool you import the text into the corresponding text frames. As to the images the best method is to use TechSmith Snagit ($38) which allows to copy, edit and save each image /scale it to size. Then you import the saved images into the corresponding image boxes in you DTP application. When saving the images the best quality is provided by saving in .bmp or .tiff formats.
After formatting and editing the DTP file you create a new PDF file practically indistinguishable from the original.
I quite often do this sort of job and charge $20 per page if there are drawings or images and $10, if it is just plain text.


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Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:54
Member (2005)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Good point Marc! Jun 24, 2006

MarcPrior wrote:

Not sure what "without any pass word" means - the file is not password-protected, or no password is needed? Could be either.


I took this to mean that the document is password protected but that the password is not available but it could also mean that the document is not password protected ....

If you want to try it though, you don't necessarily need Acrobat: it can be done with Fytek's PDF Meld. It only costs $15, and there's a demo version available for download here:

www.fytek.com/products.php?pg=pdfmeld

Marc


I didn't take the job in the end as it sounds far too complicated but I will have a look at PDF Meld as it sounds like a useful tool to have.


Ivana


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Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:54
Member (2005)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to everyone Jun 24, 2006

for your input - I didn't take the job as it sounded far too complicated a procedure for a two page document, but it's good to know that there are ways around this!

You've mentioned a lot of software, which I'm sure will be useful not just to me but to other translators reading this post, so thanks again!

Ivana


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Manuel Aburto M
Nicaragua
Local time: 20:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
I agree with Samuel Jun 29, 2006

Samuel Murray wrote:


In some cases, you can actually edit a PDF directly, but it's not fun and it takes a long time and a lot of work (and you must have the right software, which is very expensive). So for all practical purposes you can't translate directly into the PDF. What you can do, however, is to recreate the document in a word processor such as OpenOffice.org (or MS Word if you have a PDF printer driver installed) and then export to PDF. But then the client will have to supply all the pictures and fonts to be used in the PDF (you can't simply grab it from the source PDF itself).


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Lanna Rustage  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:54
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
Is there no way to translate pdfs easily? Oct 27, 2006

I am worried, as I though Acrobat would do the trick. I am increasingly being offered work in pdf format.

I have downloaded acrobat professional, which I know is expensive. I have then saved to doc format, but much of the formatting is gone, and, as always, one of the conditions is to keep the same format.

I have started to use it, and it is certainly not very friendly. In fact, its own manual says that what you should do for major editing, as opposed to "touch-ups", is to edit the original document, as no large document is every prepared in acrobat from scratch.

Any hints?

[Edited at 2006-10-28 07:57]


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Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 04:54
English to Swedish
+ ...
Use Abbyy instead of Acrobat Nov 6, 2006

Hi and welcome!

If you want to recreate the layout of a PDF in Word (for translation purpose) Abbyy PDF Transformer does a decent job.

Search the forum, there are lots of postings on this...

/Jan


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