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How do people translate Adobe PDF files
Thread poster: Christine Andrews
Christine Andrews
Local time: 16:03
German to English
Mar 26, 2007

I'm sure there must be an obvious answer to this as translators seem to handle PDF files all the time. Do I just need to buy Adobe Acrobat full version? I have latest version of Trados but it doesn't seem to do PDF files. Do you not have problems with authorities ??- surely many docs such as company reports are write protected and so cannot be edited???

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:03
English to German
+ ...
Please use the forum search Mar 26, 2007

Hi Christine,
You may want to use the forum search function - this is probably one of the most frequently discussed technical issues in the ProZ.com forum.

Check out this article written by my fellow moderator Natalia.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Print 'em out... Mar 27, 2007

I normally just print them out and translate, just like the paper documents I do all the time.

That is if they print, some don't, and in that case I ask the client to mail hard copies. If they can, I ask them to send the source file in MSWord or a scan, but that is not always possible.


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Christine Andrews
Local time: 16:03
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Best option for PDF docs with graphics/ tables etc Mar 27, 2007

Thanks for your replies. I have of course read the article and the earlier forum replies do give lots of information. I can see that there are various mini tools I could use for simple PDF docs which only contain texts (though I have to say it all looks very technical/time-consuming... and I will need to think about that!)

Increasingly, however, I am sent PDF docs with complex graphics, colours and formatting eg company reports where the client is expecting back exactly the same format in translation. For these there only seem to be 2 options - get the text delivered in its original editable format or buy the full version of Adobe Acrobat. Or am I missing something obvious???


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VIVA VOCE Ltd.  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 17:03
English to Croatian
+ ...
grappling Mar 27, 2007

Christine, I've also recently grappled with a lengthy pdf file. I use Wordfast, but it's irrelevant when PDF documents are in question.

Just to give you an example of how complicated a procedure can be...

First, I asked for a scan and then I converted the file by AbbyReader8 (mind you, you can only convert 12 pages at a time...).

AbbyReader is said to be the best tool for pdf to doc conversions, however many parts of the document were distorted, graphic images and tables lost...

To boot over and above, the colours of Wordfast segments were lost in the process so I had to consult knowledgable people here to assist me...

Work done, I concluded it would have been much simpler to have translated it in an old-fashioned hard copy way.

This truth might seem sad, but that's the way things are...


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Noe Tessmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:03
English to German
+ ...
not our job Mar 27, 2007

[quote]Christine Andrews wrote:

Increasingly, however, I am sent PDF docs with complex graphics, colours and formatting eg company reports where the client is expecting back exactly the same format in translation. n/quote]

Hello Andrew,

even with the full version of Acrobat you won't get exactly the same layout. It's not our job to do desktop publishing. If the client is lazy and doesn't want to look for the original file version, he has to take into account that the translation won't be the same.
Acrobat is intended to protect the content of documents from being easily copied etc.

Good luck

Noe


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:03
Member
French to English
+ ...
Even that won't solve your problem! Mar 27, 2007

Christine Andrews wrote:

For these there only seem to be 2 options - get the text delivered in its original editable format or buy the full version of Adobe Acrobat.


Only really one solution — the original source doc.

Sadly, even your second solution won't work!

For one thing, the text 'touch-up' facilities, even in the full version, are pretty primitive, and laborious in the extreme if you have any amount of text to deal with!

And it still doesn't address the issue of graphics etc.

In such cases, I discuss with the customer first what is or is not essential, and point out that I shall have to charge them at full translation rates if they want me to do the DTP work that they could probably get their in-house graphics people to do cheaper!

If they still insist, I do my best to simulate the general formatting of the document, in a simplified fashion. If there are terms to be translated contained within uneditable graphics, then I copy-&-paste the graphic chunk (that's where Adobe graphic select tool comes in handy, but even so, I sometimes have to do some trimming and cropping in another programme), and then insert that into my DOC, where necessary sticking little text-boxes over it to translate text elements (their graphic artist can always tidy this up later if they feel inclined!)

It's a lot of work, but you do end up with a fair facsimile of at least the bare bones of the original document

But boy, do I make them pay for it!

[Edited at 2007-03-27 08:09]


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Medved
Ukraine
Local time: 18:03
English to Russian
+ ...
FineReader Mar 27, 2007

I agree with the message above. The FineReader works wonders for me, provided the PDF file is not secured, i.e. protected from amendments or copying it out.
Then the whole trick is to convert it to Word format. I agree that some parts of the new Word file can be distorted but you do not have to care about this unless you prefer to work in Workbench. You can do the rest of the thing in TagEditor (which actually does not give a damn to the text format and processes it at a fingertip). It used to save me lots of time and sweat which it takes to debate with a customer what is right and what is wrong


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:03
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Wordfast Mar 27, 2007

Well, I have one client who always sends pdf files. I've asked several times but...

I used to copy paste the text. It was ok. Then I discovered that I could actually convert most of it with wordfast and that works quite well.

Then I heard of another conversion tool and bought it (without testing) only to regret. It is quite useless. And I'm again converting the text with the help of wordfast.

Even after that there's a lot of work that needs to be done but the results are better than what I get from other tools.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Ritu


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Saskia Steur  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:03
English to Dutch
+ ...
I use Solid Converter, but Mar 27, 2007

it does not convert all types of pdf's. PDF files made in adobe acrobat writer can be converted beautifully, though. It has saved my life, several times.

Saskia


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Boris Sigalov
Local time: 18:03
English to Russian
PDF isn't for translation Mar 27, 2007

Tony M wrote:

In such cases, I discuss with the customer first what is or is not essential, and point out that I shall have to charge them at full translation rates if they want me to do the DTP work that they could probably get their in-house graphics people to do cheaper!


I do the same: for working with PDF files I apply my regular translation rate + 20-100% surcharge. The size of surcharge depends on layout complexity and quality of the PDF file.

Generally PDF isn't for translation or any other form of editing.


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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:03
German to English
I use PDF Transformer Mar 27, 2007

Sometimes I think it isn't the customer's fault, as they don't always have the original file, for example if they have hired someone else to format their text and have only been given a PDF (presumably so that they can't just go tweaking it as they like but have to go back to the person who formatted it when they want changes).

PDF Transformer can convert reasonably clear PDFs into Word files (or .xls and some others), including similar formatting, typefaces and copies of images. It's useful for the client as a way of seeing where everything belongs in the translation, but it has its limitations. The images are not usually good enough quality for printing, and the programme is often not clever enough to work out whether the original uses a text box, a table or other ways of formatting the text. For that reason I often set it to ignore the formatting, and then format it myself at the end.

As I said, though, the end result is only so that the customer can see where everything belongs and can format it himself properly.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:03
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Abbyy has no page restriction Mar 27, 2007

I had recently converted a 46 page pdf with Abbyy Finereader 8, with graphics and colors. So I was able to update this document, which had new text in red and old translation in black, using Word and CAT.
No problem there, but I charge 10% more for such jobs.
Nonetheless people keep sending pdf on an increasing scale. Its like a disease.
Cheers
Heinrich


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Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:03
Member (2004)
Italian to English
How do you do that? Mar 28, 2007

Ritu Bhanot wrote:


I used to copy paste the text. It was ok. Then I discovered that I could actually convert most of it with wordfast and that works quite well.


Ritu


Hi Ritu,

How do you convert with Wordfast? I always convert my files with a conversion tool before translating in Wordfast...

Thanks,
Jennifer


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Jo Rourke  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:03
Spanish to English
+ ...
Converting PDF files with Wordfast? Mar 28, 2007

Hi Ritu,

Like Jennifer, I would also really like to know how I can convert PDF files in Wordfast....or if anyone else can answer!

Thanks

Jo


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