How to Translate PDF Documents

translate pdf

There is a tendency to panic when a person has to translate PDF documents, and with good cause: it can be a confusing process. But thanks to our years of experience as a professional translation agency, we’ve mastered the art of translating PDF and all types of document, from good old-fashioned Word to files requiring specific tools. That being said, no other file poses as many issues as the PDF (Portable Document Format) file, a format we often work with here at BeTranslated. Find out below just how we deal with these files to provide our clients with a top-quality service.

The importance of client-provider communication

The PDF format is particularly effective when combining text and images in the same document. When asked to translate PDF documents from French to English (for example) we don’t create a new document from scratch, but instead overwrite the source text, from which the PDF was created. Therefore, the first question we will ask you is if you have the original files. Any decent professional translation agency will be familiar with the different PDF file types and will maintain an ongoing dialogue with the client to avoid any potential translation issues caused by this file type.

Translate PDF exported from Office

PDFs exported from a Microsoft Office program (PowerPoint, Excel and Word) are easy to convert back to the originals, if needed, however we prefer to work from the original source. As soon as a client sends us a PDF file, we always make sure to ask them for the original file, and we translate that. This helps us preserve the original layout of the document.

Translate PDF exported from InDesign

Translating documents such as marketing brochures, promotional leaflets or tourist brochures from English to Spanish or German is a straightforward process when you know what you’re doing. Instead of working from the lighter PDF file, which can be difficult to convert without losing the original formatting, we will ask the client to provide us with the original InDesign package. Note that the .indd file itself cannot be translated, however InDesign provides a file type called .idml, which is an export of the textual content of the document. The .idml file is easily translated in our CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) tool. Once the .idml is translated, we can insert it back into the original InDesign package and recreate your PDF in the target language(s). We also provide you with a proofreading service (a “print-ready” check) to guarantee the quality and accuracy of the final document.

Translate PDF of a scanned document

At BeTranslated, we translate PDF scanned files (mainly legal or financial in nature) provided by companies and professionals from different sectors. These could include sales contracts, merger and acquisition, etc. If the scan quality is more or less acceptable (legibility is key and must be assured before the project is accepted), our experienced translators will use their OCR software such as ABBYY Finereader or Adobe Acrobat Pro to create a Word version of the file, which can then be translated.

BeTranslated – your language service provider for translating PDF

BeTranslated is a reliable translation agency that proves the skill of its language professionals with every finished translation. Versatility and flexibility are the key to providing our clients with punctual, cost-effective language solutions. Our team of seasoned linguists have years of experience, specializing in a wide variety of areas, always working with your final reader or client in mind to provide a fluent, accurate translation. Not afraid of a challenge, our native translators are happy to cater for all kinds of linguistic needs, whether you represent a company, local organization or small business.

Need to translate PDF files? There are several options available to you

Do you have access to the original source file? If so, send us that file and we’ll send back the translation in the same file format, with a perfect layout and ready for print. This can be any electronic format including InDesign and all MS Office formats.

No access to the source file? No problem! If it is editable (try selecting text in the PDF – if you can, then it’s editable), then we can export it to Word, translate, and recreate the original format, ready to print. If it is not editable then we have the tools to convert it to Word, where we can translate and reformat for printing. Depending on the quality of the scan this can involve more or less manual intervention, such as typing the content into Word where it hasn’t converted properly.

No matter the file type, we’ve got you covered. So, what are you waiting for? Request a free quote today and find out just how BeTranslated can help you with your translation and localization needs!