Handling .pdf files in practice
The .pdf format from Adobe has established itself as the standard for viewing typeset documents, especially in publishing. Because it is so common to send texts as .pdf files, we still do work with them on a daily basis. However, this format is only partially suitable as a working format for translations.
The .pdf format has a specific purpose: to display documents without distortion on any operating system, regardless of the programs in which they are created. The uniform .pdf format ensures this by retaining the formatting of the original.
We can convert .pdf files into a format that is more suitable for translation, for example, into .docx for Microsoft Word, but first there are a few points to consider.
A quickly generated machine export can hardly ever be used without first being manually reworked. Care and thorough checks are required to ensure that no passages of text have been forgotten or incorrectly converted. mt-g designs the structure in such a way that it can be translated as easily as possible and then processed further.
Depending on the quality of the source material, the conversion can be very time-consuming and costly. If you are unable to provide the source format, we will carefully check whether converting the .pdf document makes sense and is economical for your project. This has a lot to do with the use of the aforementioned CAT tools, which we will describe in more detail in a future article.
We are constantly asked whether we can add the translation as notes or comments to the source .pdf and then to deliver this file. This is easy to do for shorter text passages, for example, in order to supplement individual sentences in a brochure. However, we advise against this procedure for more extensive texts, as it is not only cumbersome and time-consuming for the translator, but it is also not backed up by quality assurance tools, such as a clear grammar and spell checker. Furthermore, this will also make it impossible to store the translations in your translation memory.
Transferring the translation to the final layout by copying it from notes and comments is also more error-prone and unwieldy than from applications such as Microsoft Word. Last but not least, this method prevents us from taking proper advantage of CAT systems.
There are definitely cases in which converting a .pdf file does not bring any advantages, such as scanned official letters or specialist articles, for example. We usually convert these types of texts, which have a clear and easily comprehensible structure, to Microsoft Word.