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Poll: Do you accept projects with problematic file formats (PDF, images, etc)?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 19:38
SITE STAFF
Feb 24, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you accept projects with problematic file formats (PDF, images, etc)?".

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macimovic
Netherlands
Local time: 04:38
English to Serbian
+ ...
Yes Feb 24, 2014

I see nothing problematic there.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 11:38
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No Feb 24, 2014

Because all of my customers provide me with a Trados package.

This is one of the advantages of using a CAT tool -- you don't get dead PDFs and files in other unmanageable file formats. (Though packages created from PowerPoint files are a real pain in the whatsit because of text attributes such as italic, bold, underlining, colour, etc.)

In fact, I can't remember having received a dead PDF in the past 15 years. It would head straight to the rubbish bin if I were to get one.

P.S.
However, I just realized that a file formatted for use in a CAT tool would be 'problematic' for a lot of translators on Proz.

Added P.S.

[Edited at 2014-02-24 08:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-02-24 10:33 GMT]


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:38
Member (2006)
German to English
Yes Feb 24, 2014

but only if I have time for it. Fortunately this happens only once every 2 years.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 03:38
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Feb 24, 2014

Never happened!

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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:38
English to Polish
Other Feb 24, 2014

It depends. I accept 2-3 page PDF or 2-3 pictures, but not 50 pages or 50 pictures.

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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Other Feb 24, 2014

What's problematic about a PDF?

[Edited at 2014-02-24 09:07 GMT]


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:38
Member (2006)
German to English
CAT tool Feb 24, 2014

Chris S wrote:

What's problematic about a PDF?

[Edited at 2014-02-24 09:07 GMT]


If you are doing technical texts (or probably any texts) and the PDF is a terrible state, then.....

I generally turn down such files though


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 05:38
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yes Feb 24, 2014

The vast bulk of the documents sent to me for translation are scanned copies, generally into pdf format. I consider this to go with the territory of being a legal translator. Most litigation documents are hard copies.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:38
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
PDFs are not really a problem, just a pain Feb 24, 2014

Chris S wrote:

What's problematic about a PDF?



I accept files if I can open and read them, but if they will not open in Word, Excel, Studio or Acrobat, then I can't.

That means I do get dead PDFs now and then. I check them over for layout with sticky notes and the blue-note editing tool, or I deliver the translation as a Word file.

In their hysteria for security, some people think PDFs are better, but in fact it means I print them out, and although I am normally careful to destroy confidential hard copy afterwards, they could in principle be seen in the paper recycling system...

I can't use a CAT, so they take longer... If they look really messy, I 'don't have time'.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Feb 24, 2014

In principle, I prefer not to work with awkward or time-consuming formats, and stipulate this in my profile.

However, if pushed, I will accept PDFs (but not scanned or handwritten or otherwise illegible)as long as I can (easily and quickly) convert them into a workable (Word compatible) format. I also stipulate that image files - and basically anything else that will slow me down - need to be provided in a workable, non-fiddly format, or else the client will have to deal with them some other way.

I explain this to all my clients in advance and they usually accept the conditions without too much fuss.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Anathema Feb 24, 2014

Chris S wrote:

What's problematic about a PDF?

[Edited at 2014-02-24 09:07 GMT]


Some PDFs are okay, but they may also sometimes turn out to be scanned versions of badly typed or even handwritten texts and notoriously difficult and time-consuming to work on, compared to more accessible formats. When time is of the essence, this can be quite problematic.

[Edited at 2014-02-24 10:02 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:38
English to Portuguese
+ ...
One's problem is another one's "flagship solution" Feb 24, 2014

Some colleagues shudder at the farfetched idea of taking on a project involving PDF, video, editing text embedded in graphics, DTP, etc. For me, all these are everyday routine.

On the other hand, if the request involves Trados proprietary format files, or any CAT tool 'witchcraft', I'm out. I am a rather lame WFC user.

A higher fee is not the issue. It's a matter of itemizing work in each covered specialty, and charging for it accordingly. A PDF job won't alter my per-word translation rate, however if it involves pre- or post-translation DTP work, that will be a separate item.

One typical example is PowerPoint. It's so easy to build a nice-looking slideshow, that some people are quite careless about having things properly put in place. So I give my clients a choice in such cases:
a) I will deliver it merely 'translated' at my regular per-word rate. If they have an in-house PPT wizard available, that person may fix the often crooked post-translation layout in no time.
b) If they want a turn-key job, I can fix the entire presentation after the text swelling or shrinking during translation, for something like 20~30% extra on the translation cost. After all, this work will be proportional to the quantity of text.

So what one translator considers 'problematic' may be another one's specialty.


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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:38
French to German
+ ...
No Feb 24, 2014

Simply no. I expect my clients (agencies) to send me files in a workable format so I can do my part of the job (translating) without any further problems. Otherwise, it's thank you, but no thank you.

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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 04:38
English to Russian
+ ...
Nothing bad about PDF or images Feb 24, 2014

I only impose a surcharge for handwriting (more than a few words) or other poorly legible originals. Everything else takes about the same time to handle as a Word file. If I see I can benefit from using a CAT tool, I can OCR the file - the effort to do that properly is a mere 5% or so of the actual translation, and doing it for free is just a matter of good customer relations.

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