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Convert .pdf into .doc - freeware
Thread poster: MAG
MAG
Spain
Local time: 23:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Feb 21, 2007

I need to convert .pdf files into .doc and would need some advice on freeware software to do it. Thanks for your help!

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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:03
German to English
+ ...
This week's question Feb 21, 2007

This question crops up at least once a week. Take a look at this article, http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/480/ and skim through the forums for mentions of PDF conversion.

If you want my personal opinion, which is echoed by many, Abby Fine Reader works well (try and buy: http://download.abbyy.com/content/default.aspx).

Assuming the file is text-extractable, a good idea is to ask for the Word original and/or suggest a 20% surcharge for handling PDFs.

Good luck
Chris

[Edited at 2007-02-21 18:30]


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Maria Asis  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
If it's not protected, try saving it as RTF Feb 21, 2007

Hi M.!

I don't know if there is a freeware to do that, but if you have full Acrobat, not the Reader, you can save the file as. rtf.

If it's protected this might not work.

Another option would be copy & paste. The layout is not kept, but hopefully you can rework it a bit, if it's not a very long file.

Maybe you can ask for a file in MS Word format, too.

Hope this helps! I'll track this thread!

María José


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Ramon Somoza  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:03
Member (2002)
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
Two commercial packages Feb 21, 2007

I personally do not know a free converter. I do however use two different commercial packages:

My favorite in most cases is Solid Converter (http://www.soliddocuments.com/) due to its simplicity and accuracy. It does however not work with PDF's that have been created from images.


But if the text has been scanned or faxed (and therefore stored within the PDF as an image), then Abby Finereader (http://www.abbyy.com/) with its incorporated multi-language OCR is what you need. It is a real lifeserver in these cases, but I find it more complicated and not as accurate in format as SolidConverter, so I use both.

[Editado a las 2007-02-21 18:56]


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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:03
Portuguese to English
free converters not worth the effort Feb 21, 2007

IMO, free converters are not worth the effort of downloading and trying them. I've tried a number of them and they are all defective in one way or another. In particular, avoid pdf995 - complicated to set up and the end result is awful.

I swear by Able2Extract (http://www.investintech.com/able2extract.html) - 90 USD for the full professional version. It preserves all the formatting, images, etc and the end result is editable normally in Word. The 'free' trial version only converts 3 pages at a time but you can play with it to see the results.

The full Adobe Acrobat is shockingly expensive - makes Trados look cheap by contrast!

[Edited at 2007-02-21 20:25]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:03
English to French
+ ...
Adobe Acrobat Feb 22, 2007

I am slightly straying off topic here, but even though it does cost a good sum of money to get Acrobat Pro, it is worth every penny. First of all, it works - and nowadays, software that does everything claimed without any flaws is becoming extremely rare. Second, Acrobat doesn't just convert PDF to text as well as allow you to rearrange the pages and add comments. Acrobat is a whole lot more than that - it's just that it is underused in translation. Trust me, Acrobat is an exceptional piece of software, and for what it is, it is not at all expensive. However, I would not recomment it to a mere translator - you would not use a quarter of the amazing features in it. Now, a graphic artist or a printer would find much more use for it.

I agree that the free packages are a waste of time. I have recently installed OmniPage and it is great, but their tech support and customer service is virtually non existent, so if you want to buy it, make sure you buy the physical edition that will be delivered to your door. Don't get the download version - you will have a lot of headaches before you actually get to use it.

On a final note, I recommend that you don't accept any PDFs as source text. Ask the client for an editable format. Before that document became a PDF, it was in some kind of editable format. You need to educate your client about that - clients don't know as much about our business as we do, and they especially don't have the instinct to always provide editable source documents. If you do accept PDFs, please, by all means, charge extra! I would say at least 30% more than for a Word source document, but I think 50% is more reasonable. Even if you get to export the text somehow to an editable format, you always have to fiddle with it before it looks like what you want it to. You need to be paid for that time, so charge accordingly.

[Edited at 2007-02-22 02:41]


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Boris Sigalov
Local time: 00:03
English to Russian
Yes, charge extra! Feb 22, 2007

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

I recommend that you don't accept any PDFs as source text. Ask the client for an editable format. Before that document became a PDF, it was in some kind of editable format. You need to educate your client about that - clients don't know as much about our business as we do, and they especially don't have the instinct to always provide editable source documents. If you do accept PDFs, please, by all means, charge extra! I would say at least 30% more than for a Word source document, but I think 50% is more reasonable. Even if you get to export the text somehow to an editable format, you always have to fiddle with it before it looks like what you want it to. You need to be paid for that time, so charge accordingly.


I absolutely agree with Viktoria on that! Texts submitted in non-editable formats (e.g. PDF, graphics, etc.) should be extra charged.

My minimum surcharges for translation in uneditable file formats:

- PDF made from MS Word file with easy lay-out: 15%
- Quality scanned copy of the document with easy lay-out in PDF or one of the Graphics file formats (TIF, JPG, GIF, etc.): 20%
- Hard copy with easy lay-out: 25%
- Files with low-quality scanned copy of the document, very complex lay-out or hand-written text: up to 70%

[Edited at 2007-02-22 12:36]


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 23:03
English to German
+ ...
i go fine with victoria, but.. Feb 23, 2007

H! here are a few issues to be considered in this trade. For example, a german client plans to launch his product in england and seeks a british agency and delivers geramn .pdf file, because from his perspective the agency may or may not have german keyboard, but a .pdf file embedds all the original fonts including symbols that have been originally used. It is usually the agency´s work to convert the fils into an editable format, but either due to lack of such resources or the extra work involved the translator gets the best hit. In the meanwhile as I observe this part of format conversions and formatting prior to translating is ever becoming a branch of trade of it´s own. These charge as much as USD5,- per page onwards. The other problem is after conversion the editing has to be done again by someone that understands the original .pdf source. I do not know how they are doing it, but there is this branch of trade since about 4 years. So I would rather adv. the agency to turn to them initially or undergo a parallel contract with some of these processors on a yearly volume basis, saves headache and time. Best Brandis

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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:03
French to English
+ ...
Abbyy Feb 27, 2007

I can recommend Abbyy's software (I use PDF Converter but I am told FineReader has more features). It is not freeware but it is hardly expensive, considering how useful it is.

Finereader is EUR 139 and PDF Converter is EUR 89. I always ask clients for editable files, but sometimes the documents have been through so many hands that no-one knows how one can be obtained, so PDF it is. That EUR 89 has paid for itself several times over now.


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Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 23:03
English to Swedish
+ ...
Like I've also said before... Mar 2, 2007

Angela Dickson wrote:

I can recommend Abbyy's software (I use PDF Converter but I am told FineReader has more features). It is not freeware but it is hardly expensive, considering how useful it is.

Finereader is EUR 139 and PDF Converter is EUR 89. I always ask clients for editable files, but sometimes the documents have been through so many hands that no-one knows how one can be obtained, so PDF it is. That EUR 89 has paid for itself several times over now.


Yes, the answers to this question should be posted on the frontpage of proz, and all new members obliged to read it when signing up!

From my previous post:
http://www.proz.com/post/496164#496164

Remember that you can buy good commercial OCR software (ie Abbyy and Omnipage) much cheaper on Ebay!
For $10, why go for the cheapo copycats when you can have the leading software for the same price:
http://www.proz.com/post/468664#468664

/Jan


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