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Poll: If no instructions are given, how closely do you match the format of a scanned PDF?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:11
SITE STAFF
Jul 26, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If no instructions are given, how closely do you match the format of a scanned PDF?".

This poll was originally submitted by Kathryn Litherland. View the poll results »



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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:11
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good question! Jul 26, 2016

I do try to re-create the original image as closely as possible. My clients seem to appreciate that.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:11
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Likewise! Jul 26, 2016

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

I do try to re-create the original image as closely as possible. My clients seem to appreciate that.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:11
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Depends on the type of document, but usually an approximation in Word Jul 26, 2016

I do NOT cut and paste logos, stamps etc. - this could amount to falsification and misuse. I simply write (logo) or (stamp) or (signature) etc. as appropriate.

I do not spend a lot of time on fancy fonts, but I do reproduce bold, underlining and to some extent larger and smaller pitches. Indeed, the print size can be crucial to fitting the text into the space available.

There are two types of documents I see as scanned PDFs - medical records, in which the original formatting is basic anyway, and certificates.

I have templates for some of the basic certificates such as Danish baptism certificates, which serve as birth certificates, and other common types.
Exam. certificates, completed apprenticeships and diplomas etc. can be beautiful examples of printing, quite impossible to reproduce, or they may be fairly basic. Either way, I produce a layout that makes it clear how the sections of the translation correspond to sections of the original.

If in doubt, or as a precaution, I usually ask the client what is expected... Sometimes the really stupid questions are the ones you don't ask!

Handwriting is a case in point - if I can't read it, I tell the client as soon as I get the document, and agree on what to do about it. I have had some enjoyable sessions on the phone getting the client to read the text while I write it in my own handwriting.

Edited to add that of course, I charge for my time if I spend extra time on it...

[Edited at 2016-07-26 10:58 GMT]


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:11
Member (2006)
German to English
Simple Jul 26, 2016

I just do not accept such documents as from experience, they are the worst documents to translate and it is just too much hassle

Has the format changed again here??


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Eckhard Boehle  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:11
English to German
+ ...
Other Jul 26, 2016

I did some or even a lot of approximation in Word in the past and sometimes was quite proud about the results.
But since more than 10 years I haven't done these things anymore as they are quite time-consuming.
If there are no instructions given I would in fact ask the client what to do.
But to be precise, in the types of texts I translated in the course of the last years this wouldn't be necessary.
On the other hand, if I should get merely a PDF I use to ask the client for a source text version (in Word) that I can process with my CAT tool.
Then it is the client's (agency's) job to format it in any way. My job is translating.


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Ana Vozone  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:11
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Only basic formatting Jul 26, 2016

I use Abby FineReader to convert pdf files first. If the result is not excellent/very good, I will usually only do basic formatting and tell the client I will need to charge the extra time required to do proper formatting.

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:11
French to English
Depends Jul 26, 2016

If no instructions are provided, I'd do my best to contact the client and obtain some instructions.
Otherwise, if that is not possible, then I think it is important that visually, the overall layout is respected as closely as possible and that indications given in appropriate palces on the translated version that a stamp, signature or logo is present.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:11
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No instructions? I ASK! Jul 26, 2016

When I'm asked to translate a MS Word file, WFC helps me in preserving the original layout without any additional charge.

If it's a PDF, I ask them if they want a translation as streaming plain TXT, or as a PDF following the original layout.
Of course, in the first - TXT - case, it's merely the translation rate; I don't charge extra for OCR.

In the second case - laid-out PDF - there are two possibilities:

a) Scanned, aka "dead" PDF - I'll accurately rebuild the entire publication, translated, using a DTP app, and deliver it as a "live", editable PDF. On top on the translation cost I'll charge a fixed "per physical page" DTP fee, regardless of whether a page contains just one big word like "Introduction" or a very complex flowchart. I work on averages.

b) Editable, aka "live" PDF - I'll translate and adjust the entire layout with Infix, delivering "live", translated, editable PDF. My fixed "per physical page" fee will be half of the one adopted in the previous case, regardless ditto. (delivered one such project yesterday)

My DTP rates using MS Word are discouragingly high on purpose: it's a word processor - as it name says - and hence not at all an adequate tool for DTP. It's about as adequate as Excel for creating multimedia presentations.


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Vesna Maširević  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 16:11
English to Serbian
+ ...
Why would anyone Jul 26, 2016

(currently 33%) "present a rough approximation using basic Word tools" or even "present the translation as straight text"?
It would never occur to me to assume that the client would expect nothing less than recreated file (keeping the original formatting and layout of the source file).

[Edited at 2016-07-26 13:01 GMT]


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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:11
French to German
+ ...
Other Jul 26, 2016

I don't accept jobs of this kind.

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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 16:11
French to English
+ ...
Other Jul 26, 2016

I ask...

...before I quote a price.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:11
English to Portuguese
+ ...
An example Jul 26, 2016

Vesna Maširević wrote:

Why would anyone present a rough approximation using basic Word tools" or even "present the translation as straight text"?
It would never occur to me to assume that the client would expect nothing less than recreated file (keeping the original formatting and layout of the source file).

[Edited at 2016-07-26 12:20 GMT]


I'll give you an example.

I translate EN < > PT, and speak (but don't translate) IT, FR, and ES.
I also do DTP using the late Page Maker; could use InDesign, its "son".

If someone provided me with:

  • The Page Maker or InDesign file(s)s in any of these 5 languages; and
  • Its translation in pure TXT files in another one of these 5 languages...

... I could quickly implement the translation, as plain TXT would adopt the existing formatting, while an approximate DTP attempt using MS Word would cause immense trouble.
As I speak all these 5 languages, I wouldn't need cross-references or a table with both source and target.

Hence a DTP operator who is familiar (though not a translator, and not an expert in the subject matter) with both source and target languages could make good use of plain TXT translations.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:11
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I don't do DTP Jul 26, 2016

Vesna Maširević wrote:

(currently 33%) "present a rough approximation using basic Word tools" or even "present the translation as straight text"?
It would never occur to me to assume that the client would expect nothing less than recreated file (keeping the original formatting and layout of the source file).

[Edited at 2016-07-26 13:01 GMT]


There are plenty of good reasons.
I am a translator and simply don't do DTP.
As I mentioned earlier, re-creating some of the graphical features, logos, stamps, signatures and so on might be regarded as falsification or infringing IP rights. I am not entitled to use them.

The document I am providing for my client is a translation, for instance of a marriage certificate or exam. diploma. It is not a new, legally valid document. It is not valid at all without the original, and therefore it is not necessary to provide anything that resembles the original too closely or could even be mistaken for a copy of it.

So no, I never assume that my clients expect a recreation of the original.
As a Chartered Linguist I can add my stamp and signature to vouch that it is a faithful translation, but it will never be more than that.

In the case of medical records, where the formatting of the original is quite basic, my translation comes fairly close, but the target language often takes up more space than the source, so I still do not promise to reproduce every page exactly.


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 09:11
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Close approximation Jul 26, 2016

It's not too hard to deliver a close approximation. After all, it's better and easier to work in a PC than thos old days with typewriters.

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