Best PDF-Word conversion of complex documents
Thread poster: Vittorio Ferretti

Vittorio Ferretti  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:25
English to German
+ ...
Dec 17, 2007

When translating a PDF document with text, tables, legends within pictures, pagination, summaries and indexes ... what is by your experience the best converter?
I started with a trial version of "Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional", but it took so many ressources from my PC, that I was not able to handle the converted document of several hundreds of pages.
Then I bought "PDF Professional 3", but it permits you to translate only in a small window of very few words.
Then I bought "Scan Soft PDF Converter 2.0": beside the fact that the "automatic activation" is still a problem (it asks me to change the key numbers they gave me with the product, but do not accept any change..), in a "activation time slot" I could make just one conversion: the table formatting came over but all letter formatting not.
Did somebody discover a short cut to reach the other side of this Adobe conversion Calvary?
Thanks a lot for any hint!


Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:25
Member (2005)
English to Polish
+ ...
Finereader, but... Dec 17, 2007

... with all text, table and graphic areas marked manually.

This way you are in control and do not end up with a document which is both difficult to translate using a CAT tool and to maintain layout after translation.




Richard Hall  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:25
Italian to English
+ ...
Definitely Abbyy FineReader Dec 17, 2007

The new version 9 is very good at automatic conversions of straightforward texts. However any texts with graphics, tables, etc., require manual analysis taking care that the recognition boxes are in the correct order.


Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:25
French to English
+ ...
Problems with Abbyy Finereader Dec 17, 2007

I've just used Abbyy Finereader for the first time to convert a 100+ page pdf file with lots of tables and flow charts to Word and haven't been too impressed.

I use Wordfast and though the layout seemed OK after conversion, my first draft after translation was awful -columns all wrong, tables all over the place and spread over several pages, blank pages I couldn't get rid of.... After getting very bogged down trying to correct this in the editing phase, I eventually decided to just edit the text itself and deal with the layout when I'd "cleaned" the translation. Lo and behold, most of the tables miraculously reappeared, although I was still left with some very strange spacing, column formatting which shouldn't have been there and gaps which I couldn't remove, no matter how hard I tried.

As the document was very complex, it was certainly better than just doing a pdf conversion using Plus Tools, which is what I've always done before, but I really would think twice about paying nearly £100 for this software, as it still caused me a lot of problems. I'd used the free download, which is valid for 14 days.

I'll be interested to hear if anyone can recommend any of the other packages, such as Solid or Omnipage, before I commit myself.


Vittorio Ferretti  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:25
English to German
+ ...
Thanks to all Dec 17, 2007

Claire: I will try the Finereader and see, how tedious that manual marking is, Piotr and Richard are mentioning, and give a feedback.
Piotr: can "PDF Transformer" do the same job?


Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
I use both Dec 17, 2007

Claire Cox wrote:

I'll be interested to hear if anyone can recommend any of the other packages, such as Solid or Omnipage, before I commit myself.

Solid is for beautifully laid-out PDFs (like the ones from tourism authorities and marketing agencies). I got Omnipage to handle the really ugly ones (notary and legal documents with seals and signatures. It permits you to remove the seals and substitute them with text, for instance, in apostilles, and also handles other formats like tiff). Since that about covers my specialist fields, I don't use more, except for invoicing (Docudesk, to turn text documents into PDF. However, I understand that Solid 3.1 already covers this latter function -- this software has really improved. On the other hand, the complete Docudesk suite has worked out conversion the other way, but I'm not too impressed with the cosmetic results).

[Edited at 2007-12-17 11:10]


Egidijus Slepetys  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:25
German to Lithuanian
Solid pdf converter (from and ABBYY pdf transformer Dec 17, 2007

(By the way, ABBYY "pdf transformer" is often better for pdf-files than "finereader".)

These applications are really the best, I had a lot of experience in preparing pdf documents for editing. Anyways, by complex documents I have sometimes to do a lot job in MS Word, but the results are brilliant.

Best regards,


Derek Ferrari-Frankland  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
ReadIris Pro Dec 17, 2007

I have had good success with ReadIris Pro, especially as it allows you to indicate character sets from a list of over 120 languages, even for PDFs in two languages. It also has an option allowing continuous text conversions instead of text boxes maintaining the layout of the original PDF. There is also a self-learning spell function supported by 127 dictionaries. Personally I find this works better to produce source files for Trados and Wordfast.


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