PDF conversion
Thread poster: Marguerite Storm

Marguerite Storm  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:46
Member (2003)
English to French
+ ...
Jul 21, 2015

I need some education on how to translate PDFs using a CAT tool. I have tried several solutions and haven't found a very good solution.
I generally use Wordbee for my translations and project management, and overall I am very satisfied. It's an all-in-one tool that is very well designed. It has it's own PDF converter (bought separately). I don't think it's very good and has cost me many hours of trying to fix my end result.
My best experience has been with Adobe Acrobat, then Wordfast Pro. However, I still have layout/formatting issues and cannot come up with a 'perfect' Word document.
I'm interested in your comments and suggestions on this.


Tony M
Local time: 00:46
French to English
+ ...
Search the forums Jul 21, 2015

This topic has come up many times before, and I think you should find some interesting reading in the existing posts in the forums.

In my own experience, Abby FineReader is a very successful PDF > DOC OCR program (and can even be advantageously used with PDFs that are actually in an editable format anyway).

HOWEVER, its attempts to re-create the original formatting / layout of the document are a total disaster, and I always choose the 'straight text' option, as it is much less work to translate first and then re-instate the page layout later — if indeed it is necessary, depending on what the customer intends to do with it.

Whatever solution you use, I strognly recommend stripping out ALL formatting (if necessary, by using 'Save as...' and saving as a .TXT file) in order to simplify the translation part of the job; after that, the layout is merely a secretarial task!


Marguerite Storm  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:46
Member (2003)
English to French
+ ...
Good advice! Jul 21, 2015

Thank you Tony! I hadn't thought of saving as txt. That is probably the way to go until they invent a good OCR tool!!


Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:46
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Foxit Phantom PDF Jul 22, 2015

Grite wrote:

Thank you Tony! I hadn't thought of saving as txt. That is probably the way to go until they invent a good OCR tool!!

Foxit Phantom PDF is light-weighted and versatile for OCR. It is easier to handle if compared with Adobe Acrobat. It can save OCRed documents in a number of format including text files.

Soonthon L.icon_biggrin.gif


Andrea Garfield-Barkworth  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:46
Member (2015)
German to English
Spare licence Jul 22, 2015

Not sure this is the place for it but if anybody is interested I have a spare licence for Abbyy FineReader 12 as I bought two by mistake. It has never been activated.


Marion Lemari  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:46
English to German
Stripping out all formatting Jul 23, 2015

I have always wondered about the same thing.

I agree with Tony M, and I believe it is more professional to actually rebuilt the layout after the translation process. Every attempt to keep the converted layout always looks messy. I have discussed this subject with a project manager once, and according to him, the agencies expect that the translator submits her work with a clean layout.

I am currently using Adobe Acrobat, but it takes a few additional steps before a document is ready for translation. I am not sure if this very professional, but at first, I always convert a PDF into a Word document. Then, I copy the text into a new Word document and simply paste the text without any formatting. Next, I remove any breaks and fix spaces between the words if there are any. I do some basic formatting before I start the translation process, but I keep the majority of the formatting work for later.

I am not sure if other converter programs let you choose your source text language as well, but Adobe Acrobat has this function, and it seems to help a lot.

[Edited at 2015-07-23 04:03 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-07-23 04:20 GMT]


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