Fine Reader - Converting Files
Thread poster: Gabriele Demuth

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:29
Member (2014)
English to German
Apr 20, 2015

So far I have generally worked with Word or Excel files, however, recently there were several situations where it would have been helpful to be able to convert PDF files to Word or the other way round.

As I have no knowledge of the software available and what it can do I was going to ask your advice.

I have tried a free converter but that didn't give me an editable version of the PDF file. The test version of ABBEYY Fine Reader seemed to work fine, but is the expense worth it (for occasional use) are there other options?

What software do you use, what do can it do (any singing and dancing features) and how much does it cost?


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:29
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Not your job Apr 20, 2015

I will never again accept any job that isn't already converted for me, and unless the conversion is perfect (including tables, diagrams, etc)-

I'm a translator, and I'm focussed on that. I recently lost a good client because they unfairly criticised me because although my translation itself was perfect to the last comma, it was impossible for me to maintain the formatting in the badly converted PDF they sent me at the very last minute on a Friday and then went home, leaving me to struggle with it all weekend.

We shouldn't be wasting time (and money) doing these extra things. In any case none of the software (I've tried many) gives good results with PDFs that contain anything complicated. I even paid for Acrobat Professional (no good for any PDF that contains formatting, numbered pages etc.) and the paid version of ABBBY (slightly better, but still unsatisfactory). After all the whole point of PDFs is that they should basically not be editable at all!


[Edited at 2015-04-20 19:12 GMT]


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:29
Member (2014)
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
What about certificates? Apr 20, 2015

Thanks, Tom!

I have recently said not to a job translating some certificates because they would have been delivered in PDF and because they were fairly urgent, so no time to figure out the converting.

You or those who translate certificates, do you expect them to be already converted? Or do you simply charge for the extra time this takes?

[Edited at 2015-04-20 19:24 GMT]


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Georgi Kovachev  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 11:29
Member (2010)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Add value to your clients and charge additionally Apr 21, 2015

I absolutely agree with Tom that processing PDF files has nothing to do with translation.

On the other hand, we are freelancers and the more value we provide to our clients, the better (if we charge additionally). That is why I prefer to accept PDF files and to ask to be paid more. I use PDF Transformer Pro 2.0 and strip any formatting prior to using my CAT tool – I have found out that thus the CAT tool runs smoothly; I have had instances when it had crashed or had run very slowly when I had preserved the formatting.

Gabriele, if you use Windows 8, you can also check the Microsoft Store for PDF to Word converters – there are offers ranging from less than 4 EUR to about 10 EUR (regarding the Bulgarian version of the Store, however). I am interested if they provide the same result as ABBYY FineReader or PDF Transformer.

Another option I have discovered recently is to register an account in SmartCAT (developed by ABBYY). The system recognises PDFs (http://www.smartcat.pro/freelance). This is a quote from their site about confidentiality: 'Encryption and security


The confidentiality of the documents in process is guaranteed by protected cloud storage. The system uses the HTTPS protocol and is only available to authorized users.'


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:29
Member (2014)
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
I see it as offering an additional service Apr 21, 2015

Thank you Georgi,

These are interesting options to explore, someone mentioned that Adobe's Acrobat Reader gave her better results than ABBYY Fine Reader - she used both extensively. I will check out Transformer Pro and the Microsoft Store as well.

There seem to be differences in quality which I cannot really judge yet. I ran different certificates through ABBYY's trial version and found that the text under the signature remained non-editable. Would you get any usable results with hand written texts or is retyping the only option?

In general I am happy to offer that additional service (not for free of course) if it is reasonably easy to do, e.g. a direct client usually sends a couple of short texts in PDF, usually I simply copy the text it into a Word doc, but last time (maybe because I upgraded to Windows 8) the formatting got muddled, but he was able to send me a Word version without a problem - but what if that hadn't been possible?

However, I don't want to end up fiddling with formatting, retyping text and comparing versions ...


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:29
German to English
happy with ABBYY Apr 21, 2015

I have ABBYY Fine Reader and PDF Transformer and use them occasionally. Investing a few minutes in using one of them to convert a document is often easier than having clients provide badly converted Word files. However, my conversions never involve complicated layouts and, in fact, I often just copy and paste (you can right click before pasting and select "keep original formatting") to arrive at more or less the same results in more or less the same amount of time.

I think both ABBYY products cost less than 100 EUR as a package, so they are not that expensive if they genuinely help with what you need them for. I think Adobe is a major investment, but I don't know.
You also need to take an hour or so to fiddle around with ABBYY in terms of finding the right settings and what exactly it can and cannot do (and, if you only use it occasionally, write down every little detail of how you did you what you did - unless you have a better memory than me). For example, the problem with ABBYY treating text as an image can be pretty easily solved by manually defining that part of the document as text (green box) instead of an image (red box).

Working with official documents, I could imagine that ABBYY or another converter could really make you faster (save you money) and make your life much easier, if you invest a little time in figuring it out.


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