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Editing PDF files
Autor wątku: Firas Allouzi

Firas Allouzi  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 06:04
angielski > arabski
+ ...
Apr 15

Hi,

I have been receiving user manuals in PDF files to translate from English to Arabic. This raises a lot of layout issues. The alignment of the text needs to be changed, images need to be moved etc.

I have been using Adobe Acrobat DC for editing, but it is a nightmare. I also try converting PDF to Word but still not very helpful - not with a complicated layout as the one with user manuals.

Am I using the best software for editing PDF files or is there anything more user-friendly and designed for this purpose?

Thank you for your help in advance


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Tony M  Identity Verified
Francja
Local time: 07:04
Członek ProZ.com
francuski > angielski
+ ...
PDF files are inherently non-editable Apr 15

Sadly, I'm afraid you're on a hiding to nothing here!

By their very nature, PDF files are intended to be non-editable, and all the systems I've ever seen for editing them are nothing more nor less than a fudge with very limited capacities. And when you have both complicated formatting AND a change of language type, I don't think you stand a chance!

My best suggestion would be to OCR the PDF to recover the text in unformatted form, translate it, and then manually re-format it in Arabic — this is probably the most painless (least painful?) way to do it, not least because the re-formatting might be entrusted to a competent secretary with sufficient language skills to be able to understand "what goes where".

It is possible you might get similar results simply extracting the text from the PDF and then doing the same thing, but i've usualyl found this makes more of a mess of the formatting than simply OCR-ing it.


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Tom in London
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 06:04
Członek ProZ.com
od 2008

włoski > angielski
My suggestion Apr 15

My suggestion: politely ask the client to provide a conversion to MS Word.

You are a translator, not a converter of PDF files.

I find that even with good conversion software like ABBYY or Acrobat Professional, the results are hit-and-miss, especially with diagrams and tables. If the pages are numbered, that adds chaos to chaos. You could end up spending more time on the re-formatting than you spend on what you are being paid for: the translation. And nobody will ever thank you.

[Edited at 2017-04-15 21:23 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazylia
Local time: 02:04
angielski > portugalski
+ ...
MS Word, as its name implies, is a word processor Apr 15

Tom in London wrote:

My suggestion: politely ask the client to provide a conversion to MS Word.

You are a translator, not a converter of PDF files.

I find that even with good conversion software like ABBYY or Acrobat Professional, the results are hit-and-miss, especially with diagrams and tables. If the pages are numbered, that adds chaos to chaos. You could end up spending more time on the re-formatting than you spend on what you are being paid for: the translation. And nobody will ever thank you.


MS Word's paradigm is the typewriter. You always start writing on page 1, no matter what you number it with. And If your text swells in, say, page 25, it may have consequences - or not - in every page beyond that.

Nowadays there are CAT tools capable of trespassing into PDF files to translate them. However these are unable to fix any layout issues, in case the text swells or shrinks in translation.

After the translation is done, it is necessary to fix the layout havoc. For this purpose, now there are many PDF editors, like NitroPDF, which I heard of.

One such editor is Infix. It is particularly suited for translation, since it tags and exports all text for you to translate OUTside the PDF, using your favorite CAT tool, another CAT tool, or nothing at all, as long as you don't mess up those tags. Then Infix will import the translated text, doing its best to automatically fit each chunk in the format and space it occupied previously. Many things will not be as they should, so Infix has all the tools for you to adjust them.

I began my computer life with an Apple II. Later I moved to a 4.77 MHz PC-XT. Today I use a 2 x 2.8 GHz PC, over a thousand times faster. This means that I went through many word processors. Throughout all these years, Word was always by far the worst of them. Yet some clever marketing turned it into THE market standard. Nevertheless, I avoid having it in any workflow as often as I can.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 06:04
Członek ProZ.com
od 2000

rosyjski > angielski
+ ...
@ José Apr 16

Which word processor do you recommend?

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Tom in London
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 06:04
Członek ProZ.com
od 2008

włoski > angielski
Nitro Apr 16

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

....., now there are many PDF editors, like NitroPDF, which I heard of.

One such editor is Infix.


Yes...I suspect those are the applications my agencies use (I always ask them to convert the PDFs).


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Elif Baykara  Identity Verified
Turcja
Local time: 08:04
Członek ProZ.com
od 2015

niemiecki > turecki
+ ...
Outsourcing Apr 16

As pointed out above, pdf files are inherently non-editable.

Companies use pdf files and more frequently InDesign files for manuals etc. This a different field.

This is my solution:

1- For direct clients:

They provide the pdf file, and if available, InDesign and word files. You can outsource the conversion into an editable format, preferably into an xliff. You can use the pdf file only for reference when the segmentation is not very clear etc.

2- For translation companies:

They provide you the translatable file directly.

Page design is not your job as a translator. By definition, it is the job of page design professionals There are special software for this purpose.

Elif


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Elif Baykara  Identity Verified
Turcja
Local time: 08:04
Członek ProZ.com
od 2015

niemiecki > turecki
+ ...
In case of emergency, Apr 16

you can define and number specific areas on the pdf file. Then you can work on any word processor providing the reference to these defined areas. The rest, that is, the layout and preparation for publishing are your customer's job. Most probably they will hire a professional for this anyway.

Here, emergency means that you don't have the funds to outsource the conversion and your client cannot provide the word file. In any case, your client should agree beforehand with such a workflow.

And my last suggestion is to return the project


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Nina Esser
Niemcy
Local time: 07:04
angielski > niemiecki
With Elif Apr 16

I agree with Elif that the best approach would be to take care of the layout in the tool in which the file was originally created. Have you tried right-clicking and selecting Properties (when the pdf is open)? That should tell you the tool used to create the file.

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:04
angielski > hiszpański
+ ...
Ask your client to provide Word files instead Apr 16

Others have said it better: PDF files are uneditable. Get it into your head. Belaboring the point: type size cannot be changed, typefaces cannot be replaced, text orientation cannot be modified, graphics cannot be modified or moved around.

Does your client want PDF files in Arabic back? Tell him to hire a graphic designer or typesetter who knows how to work with Arabic fonts and texts. No buts or ifs: there is no workaround.

If your client wanted Word files, he would have sent you Word files already. As Tom said, you are not a PDF conversion expert, but a translator. It's up to the client to get someone to do the mechanical work of preparation of files so that you get writable and editable file formats (Word, for instance).

If the client refuses to send you Word files (that should be properly formatted for text, graphics, etc. to be editable, not lazily OCRd in a haste), lose that client today.

How often many translators are too quick to say yes to a job before asking for the technical particulars, to see if they know what to do with them.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:04
angielski > hiszpański
+ ...
Return... or refuse the project? Apr 16

Elif Baykara wrote:

And my last suggestion is to return the project


I'm a bit unclear, but I bet you meant for our colleague to just refuse taking on the project in the first place.


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Elif Baykara  Identity Verified
Turcja
Local time: 08:04
Członek ProZ.com
od 2015

niemiecki > turecki
+ ...
Both :) Apr 16

Mario Chavez wrote:

Elif Baykara wrote:

And my last suggestion is to return the project


I'm a bit unclear, but I bet you meant for our colleague to just refuse to take on the project in the first place.


Refusing is the permanent solution of course. But as I understood, the OP has already accepted the project. In that case, and if I cannot develop other solutions as I have suggested above, I would kindly return the project to the client and hope not to lose that client. But even losing the client is a better option if I will spend time (and probably money) and still will not obtain a solution which would satisfy my client. At least, I would have spared my (precious) time and further pain in the future.

Elif

[Edited at 2017-04-16 15:10 GMT]


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Luca Tutino  Identity Verified
Włochy
Local time: 07:04
Członek ProZ.com
od 2002

angielski > włoski
+ ...
Infix seems to require paying customers to upload their originals and their translations Apr 16

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

One such editor is Infix. It is particularly suited for translation, since it tags and exports all text for you to translate OUTside the PDF, using your favorite CAT tool, another CAT tool, or nothing at all, as long as you don't mess up those tags. Then Infix will import the translated text, doing its best to automatically fit each chunk in the format and space it occupied previously. Many things will not be as they should, so Infix has all the tools for you to adjust them.



It looked very promising. But, as far as I can read on their website, the latest version of Infix requires an upload of the original PDF in order to send you a translatable XLIFF, which would normally require a prior client approval. Moreover, to get the final PDF you would also need to upload the translated XLIFF. Do you feel comfortable with this kind of workflow?


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Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
Estonia
Członek ProZ.com
od 2012

angielski > rosyjski
+ ...
They do have a non-cloud solution. but it will cost you Apr 16

Luca Tutino wrote:

It looked very promising. But, as far as I can read on their website, the latest version of Infix requires an upload of the original PDF in order to send you a translatable XLIFF, which would normally require a prior client approval. Moreover, to get the final PDF you would also need to upload the translated XLIFF. Do you feel comfortable with this kind of workflow?


Recently they added an option to have a local server with the same functionality. However, it is ridiculously expensive, something like $800. Not worth it at all to me.

That said, I guess you can still use their XML export instead of XLIFF. No upload required with this format, just add the included filter to your CAT program (an .INI file in case of Trados).


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Hiszpania
Local time: 07:04
Członek ProZ.com
od 2005

angielski > hiszpański
+ ...
Not quite Apr 17

Luca Tutino wrote:
It looked very promising. But, as far as I can read on their website, the latest version of Infix requires an upload of the original PDF in order to send you a translatable XLIFF, which would normally require a prior client approval. Moreover, to get the final PDF you would also need to upload the translated XLIFF. Do you feel comfortable with this kind of workflow?

Yes, the latest Infix uses this paradigm of uploading PDFs to a website which, then, returns an XLIFF. I have tried that route with poor results. Luckily, Infix still has the old paradigm, which creates XML files locally that you can easily translate with your favourite CAT tool. The 'old' feature is in the Translate - Local submenu.

[Edited at 2017-04-17 05:17 GMT]


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