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001We all know, I think, that translating a PDF should be the last resort.  PDF stands for Portable Document Format and the reason they have this name is because they were intended for sharing with users on any platform irrespective of whether they owned the software used to create the original file or not.  Used to share so they could be read.  They were not intended to be editable, in fact the format is also used to make sure that the version you are reading can’t be edited.  So how did we go from this original idea to so many translators having to find ways to translate them?

I think there are probably a couple or three reasons for this.  First, the PDF might have been created using a piece of software that is not supported by the available translation tool technology and with no export/import capability.  Secondly, some clients can be very cautious (that’s the best word I can find for this!) about sharing the original file, especially when it contains confidential information.  So perhaps they mistakenly believe the translator will be able to handle the file without compromising the confidentiality, or perhaps they have been told that only the PDF can be shared and they lack the paygrade to make any other decision.  A third reason is the client may not be able to get their hands on the original file used to create the PDF.

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#1Update: Studio 2015 does have a built in OCR facility for PDF, so whilst this article is still useful, keep that in mind!  Also worth reviewing the solution from InFix using XLIFF.

Studio has a PDF filetype, and it can do a great job of translating PDF files… BUT… not all PDF files!

So what exactly do I mean by this, surely a PDF is a PDF?  Well this is true, but not all PDF files have been created in the same way and this is an important point.  PDF stands for Portable Document Format and was originally developed by Adobe some 20-years ago.  Today it’s even a recognised standard and for anyone interested you can find them here… at least the ones I could find:

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