Off topic: How do you translate technical manuals??
Thread poster: Magdalena Ku (X)

Magdalena Ku (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
English to Polish
+ ...
Feb 20, 2011

I have a problem. I received a technical manual in 'pdf'. The translation must be the same as original manual. Is there a posobility to convert 'pdf' into 'word' or any unit in which I can easily write not loosing photos?? Please helpicon_smile.gif


Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

PDF converter Feb 20, 2011

I have tried several but I find the superior one is ABBYY PDF transformer 3.0.

It makes a Word document and maintains the page layout and is easy to use.



Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
Member (2004)
German to Polish
+ ...
Please use the Search function Feb 20, 2011

This topic has been discussed some 17369 times already.




Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Not the best way Feb 20, 2011

You must remember that it is virtually impossible to recreate a complex document starting just from a PDF file. Not to mention that it might take half as much time as the translation itself...


Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:34
English to Japanese
+ ...
Why not ask your client for a source text in Word format? Feb 20, 2011

Magdalena Kucab wrote:

I have a problem. I received a technical manual in 'pdf'. The translation must be the same as original manual. Is there a posobility to convert 'pdf' into 'word' or any unit in which I can easily write not loosing photos?? Please helpicon_smile.gif

You may have your reasons, but I don't understand why the translator has to go through all the hassle to convert a certain type of document which cannot be edited or overwritten into a format which one becomes able to do so.

If the source text is a business letter or something else where formatting is unncessary which happens to be a PDF of a scanned document from a fax or something, it doesn't matter, but in your case, the story is different. I always ask my client to hand me the converted version which I can edit or overwrite, especially where formatting is necessary.


Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:34
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

DTP software Feb 20, 2011

I'm afraid that most likely the manual was not originally created in Word but in some specialized DTP software (e.g. Adobe InDesign).
You should ask for the original DTP package and translate it using a CAT tool that supports the corresponding file format.
Of course, if you want the translation to have the same layout as the original you'll need to have (own) the DTP software and know how to use it.
Don't expect to be able to recreate the layout if you're not a DTP expert.
And, of course, the DTP work should be charged accordingly (separate from the translation work)


David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ask for the original Feb 20, 2011

The PDF was generated from a source document, converting it into something usable is a needless waste of time and effort, not to mention the fact that it is likely to introduce errors.

Do yourself a favor and ask for the original, you will save yourself and your client a lot of needless work, time and potential errors.


Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
Polish to English
+ ...
Depending on the text format Feb 21, 2011

Magdalena's profile does not indicate any CAT, just standard MS Office software. Options are numerous, for instance:
1. My first advice is ask the device/machine manufacturerfor the source file in DOC format with all formatting and images (luckily, a large number of machine manufacturers still use Word to write instruction manuals). That would be the simplest solution.
2. If for the end user, options are numerous:
a. Open the PDF file in Adobe Reader and Save as Text.. - if 'Content Copying' is Allowed (check Properties>Security) and was converted from Word or a similar software. You will receive a text-only RTF or TXT file, which can be translated applying any method known to you. Afterwards you will add the formatting and images (click and drag from Adobe Reader to Word). Time, patience and much manual work are required.
b. Invest in FineReader. Remember to buy a version that supports PDF (some older versions do not). You will receive RTF. Translate as you wish. Still, you may have to make lots of format adjustments, corrections, etc. as Jabberwock wrote.
c. Again, ask the manufacturer - either directly, or through the end user.

Thereafter, convert DOC to PDF. Some Word versions have 'Print to file' option which can be used for that convertion - don't know exactly. I use Open Office 3 Writer, which makes this convertion at a single mouse click (Eksportuj jako PDF = Export as PDF).

If the source text contains exotic fonts I replace them with Arial, which protects me from any strange sign instead of Polish character. My clients never objected against Arial.


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A correction Feb 21, 2011

Andrzej Lejman wrote:
This topic has been discussed some 17369 times already.

May I correct this? It was actually 17,370 times.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
InFix Feb 21, 2011

Check if this works for you:

This is how I've been using it:

I fail to see any 'offtopic-ness' in this message.

I began my translation career in 1973 with technical manuals for heavy machinery. However in those days things were quite different. I translated the text using a Parker 51. Then two expert typists would type that. They were experts twice: first, they understood my barely legible handwriting; second, they did an extremely neat job in layout. I often had to make technical drawings, graphs, and charts for these manuals, or at least make copies of American drawings, cut & paste them to move the projections from 3rd to 1st quadrant (Brazilian std.), and convert all measurements into metric. Then we'd assemble pages with scissors and glue sticks, to copy them and build manuals. Titles were made with dry-transfer letters.

A couple of decades later, when PageMaker came up, its paradigm was natural to me. It was like what I had done in the past, but in virtual reality.

Now you can reuse all - or at least most of - the DTP work in an existing PDF, simply translate!


Magdalena Ku (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
English to Polish
+ ...
:) Feb 21, 2011

Thank you very muchicon_smile.gif


Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:34
French to English
+ ...
Accurately, please Feb 21, 2011

In a Spanish motorbike company's "warranty" recently I have seen that the bike contains a pine kernel [pinion] (et al.)icon_rolleyes.gif

[Edited at 2011-02-22 07:27 GMT]


Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Local time: 04:34
English to Spanish
To Magdalena... Feb 22, 2011

I can do this conversion for you, if you wish, provided the pdf document is in English.

Please have a look at my profile, I offer this service for my colleagues.



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