Translating a PDF: problems with Studio 2015
Thread poster: Mike Roebuck

Mike Roebuck  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:21
German to English
+ ...
Apr 27, 2016

I'm currently translating a file which was an accessible PDF, which Trados has converted.

When I try to save the target file, I get the following message:

"Failed to save target content. The context list is null. Could not get the last child".

I haven't finished the translation yet, so haven't tried re-translating the Word file that Trados created to see if that works.

Any ideas, anyone, please?


Local time: 09:21
Failed to save target content. The context list is null. Could not get the last child Apr 28, 2016

Dear Mr Roebuck,

This is Guillaume from SDL.

We have an article in our Knowledge Base about this error message, with a resolution:

Kind regards,


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[Edited at 2016-04-28 08:31 GMT]


Local time: 04:21
Despite SDL's advice May 3, 2016

Despite what the SDL specialist says with his knowledge base, reality is that most PDF cannot reconvert after translation using Studio. The best thing you can do is just avoid using PDF altogether when translating with Studio.
There are a number of errors created by PDFs, most are visible before translation, so you can test conversion of the file at the beginning of the project, and in 80% of cases with PDF it will not reconvert.
Translate it instead in Word format.




SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:21
The best advice is don't... May 4, 2016

... handle PDF's! These file formats are intended to allow people to share files created in any format on any computer without the need for the native application to be installed. They are not designed for translation.

Of course we all know you get them and you have to handle them, and Studio can do a reasonable job much of the time. But not all PDF's are equal!

The best approach in my opinion (as SDL too) is this:

1. Convert the PDF to Word (or use InFix or something like that to get the text as xliff/xml/txt)
2. Clean up the Word file
3. Translate the Word file

Even if you try to handle the PDF directly the target will be a Word file anyway, so you are normally going to be better off making your life translating the content easier by preparing the Word file for translation properly in the first place.

Some small jobs, with well formed PDF files, Studio will handle nicely and you may come to recognise them quickly when you test the PDF. But on the whole I would adopt a "prepare and clean first" policy when working with this format.


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