How do I translate a pdf document?

Translations and PDF files, in general, do not work very well together. In order to translate a document efficiently, we actually need to work on the source file. We generally translate by importing the file into an assisted translation programme, or by editing it using text or calculation editors. Translating a PDF file, a format that exists precisely for documents that must not be edited, is not so straightforward.

Translators can equip themselves with specialised programmes to convert the PDF into an editable file. Some types of translation software even allow you to skip this step by automatically processing the PDF so that it is ready for translation. This however is not always possible or advisable: some files may be protected or encrypted to prevent manipulation, and anything with a ‘non-regular’ layout is unlikely to be reproduced correctly. These include files with special formatting, charts, images or other elements, not to mention scanned paper documents and manuscripts. Moreover, rarely the translated text is the same length as the original: it can be shorter or longer and no longer correspond to the original layout, which cannot be modified. Often, therefore, before translating a PDF file, we need to recreate the document and its graphic layout. Assessing the volume to be translated in order to calculate a translation quotation for a PDF document is also rather complicated.

Sometimes, a PDF is really the only option available, in which case you need to know that the work to be done is more labour-intensive. Whenever possible, however, it is always better to send us the files in their source format: Word, InDesign, XML, PowerPoint. We will take best care of them.


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