Test translation in pdf
Thread poster: Els Hoefman

Els Hoefman  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
English to Dutch
+ ...
Jan 29, 2004

This is probably a stupid question but you know how insecure we starting free-lancers are.
I received my first request for a test translation (hurray!) and it is a pdf file, an extract from a manual with some images.
Am I supposed to try to recreate the document with its images or can I just send my translation as a plain Word document without images?


Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:31
English to Tamil
+ ...
It depends on what you have promised Jan 29, 2004

Suppose you had mentioned about your ability to respect the original format, it will be advisable to do so, even if the client has not expressly asked for it. Try to download the AcrobatReader 6.0, if you are not already having it.
Select first the "text select tool" and copy paste the entire text in Word. Images will not be included by this tool. On the other hand if the images contain texts, they might be given in an haphazard manner. Select now the "graphic select tool" and copy paste the images one by one at the appropriate places in the Wordfile, where the text has been copy pasted. Fit the legend texts to the image by cutting and pasting by means of creating text boxes at the appropriate places.
Try to give proper spacings between paras. Now the word document is ready for translation by means of overtyping. If you can put the translated document back into the PDF format, nothing like it. In fact this is possible with the version 6.0 of the AcrobatReader.
Please remember: It may be a test translation only but if you do as I suggest, you are sure to impress the client in a better manner. Try however to limit the test to just 200 words. Do not be browbeaten into translating more free of cost.

[Edited at 2004-01-30 03:19]


Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
if the pdf is not in a text format... Jan 29, 2004

Narasimhan's advice is, as ever, excellent. However, if the whole thing is in graphics you will have to print it out and scan it with OCR software, which may not be worthwhile for a short test text, or just write your translation directly into Word.

Good luck!


Marc P (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
German to English
+ ...
Test translation in pdf Jan 29, 2004

PDF is an output format only and is not intended for further editing. It's therefore silly to try to recreate the formatting in a PDF. That has to be done from scratch and is a layouter's job, not a translator's.

This customer shouldn't therefore have any need to assess your ability to reproduce the layout. The PDF format is probably no more than coincidence. Treat it like hard copy!

Good luck,


Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:01
German to English
+ ...
Help from Adobe Jan 29, 2004

If you just mail the pdf to "pdf2txt@adobe.com" they will send it back in text format which you can save as an rtf.

You don't even have to say please - just a blank mail!

After that you can possibly follow Narasimhan's advice with the graphics.

Bonne chanceicon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2004-01-29 12:23]


Nenija Hasanic
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 20:01
English to Bosnian
+ ...
Word file Jan 29, 2004

I suggest a plain word file. If images contain some text labels, you can simply insert text boxes instead and translate those labels within the boxes. If you cannot handle pdf files, you should clearly state so to your clients to avoid misundestandings.


Henk Peelen  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
Member (2002)
German to Dutch
+ ...
As far as I know, just a plain Word file Jan 29, 2004

Lot of excellent explanations, especially the one of Narasimhan Raghavan.
I use to deliver a plain Word file, and like to copy the PDF content to the Word file in the way Narasimhan explained.

1) Also very important: select all copied text in the Word file [Ctrl] + [A] and select a text color "automatically", because a lot of PDF's contain white text on a dark background. In Word you wouldn't see this white text.
2) After that I use to delete the line breaks. On the Dutch forum I once told about a macro I used for that purpose:

Recording the macro:
1) Select Tools, Macro, Record New Macro
2) Name the macro (for instance "additional_shortcutkey_Delete_line_breaks”: you can always find this one again; do not use periods or spaces, else it will produce an error)
3) If not already set, set the option "Store macro in:" to "Normal.dot"
4) Click on the “Keyboard” icon under "Assign macro to:" (a window labelled "Customize Keyboard" will appear)
5) In the input box labelled "Press new shortcut key:" type in [Alt] & [G] simultaneously (see NOTE below!)
6) Click on “Assign”
7) Click on “Close” (a small toolbar will appear)
8 Press ”End”
Press ”Delete”
Press the space bar
Press "arrow down"
9) Click on the square on the toolbar “Stop Recording” (if this toolbar doesn't appear, then select Tools, Macro, Stop Recording from the main toolbar).

NOTE: It's possible that the shortcut key you want to create is already in use (for instance, by Word). In that case you will see “Currently assigned to: ....”. At that point, it's best if you select another key combination if it's already assigned. Otherwise, you will overwrite the old shortcut. If the key combination is _not_ already assigned, then you will see "[unassigned]" under the label "Currently assigned to:". After selecting an unassigned shortcut, you can continue to step 6.

You should use this macro quite cautiously! Sometimes it doesn't delete all line breaks!

If you don’t like this additional key or made a mistake with it, open the Macro dialog box by pressing [Alt] + [F8] (or selecting Tools, Macro, Macros…). Next, select this shortcut key, and press the Delete button. When the dialog box appears, click "Yes" to confirm the delete.

As to the text labels around figures, I use to create a table with two columns: left one for the source text and the right one for the target text. Easy for you and very clear for your customer.

Hope this helps

[Edited at 2004-01-29 16:54]


Els Hoefman  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
English to Dutch
+ ...
Thanks everyone! Jan 29, 2004

Thanks everyone! You are great mentors!!!
I'm surprised at how many reactions I had, it's great to know that you are all so helpful... I really appreciate it!


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