Translation of PDF files

Now and then I get a request to translate a PDF file. It is usually not so straightforward. A PDF file has been made specifically to read and to print, not to edit.

That does not mean, however, that a PDF file cannot be translated. The information below is invaluable to save me as a translator but also you and your business a lot of work.
If you have a PDF file you want to have translated, there are two possibilities: either you also have the source file (the file used to create the PDF), or you do not.

You do have a source file

If the source file of the PDF file is a Word file, then please send me the Word file. I can then work directly within it and return a translated Word file to you.

Perhaps the PDF file is made based on a package such as FrameMaker or InDesign and you may believe rightly so that I do not have these packages. However, I can deal with FrameMaker or InDesign files. Though, your DTP specialist may have to make a very small change to get me a translatable file. Five minutes of work for your employee, hours saved in the long run.

Example of a scanned PDF file

When I return the translated file, you can load it directly into your package and at most, all you need to straighten out some of the layout. Since I have an excellent knowledge of my own software, I can save you hours and hours that you would otherwise have to spend at copying and pasting translated text from Word to the software you are using.

You do not have a source file

Sometimes you do not have a source file, because the origin of the file is unclear or because you are dealing with scanned pages. The question remains: to what extent would you like to keep the layout of the original file?

If the layout is not important, I will translate the PDF file manually in Word, with very little layout.

However, if the layout is important, then I can come up with a solution. This will, of course, entail extra costs (how much depends on the complexity of the layout), but it saves you all of the layout work afterwards.


In short, even though a PDF file is rather inaccessible, I can deal with it and I can save you a lot of time. Do not hesitate to ask for my advice.