Translating PDF Documents

What is a PDF?

“Portable Document Format” or PDF is a file format which allows the author to preserve her file in its original form, complete with text, images, and other formatting features. By its nature, PDF is not a file format conducive to editing, but rather for documents intended for final distribution.

This can make doing translations from PDFs complicated despite various types of software and strategies for working around the semi-permanent nature of these files.

Working with PDFs

You may come across either of the two types of PDFs: application-generated and scanned PDFs.

Working with the former type is much less complicated, as the document was originally created with another computer application and then converted. You will be able to extract lines, paragraphs, pages, and entire sections of the document so as to save it as a Word document.

If you receive a scanned PDF, your work becomes more complicated, as these are images and therefore cannot be edited. You can purchase OCR (optical character recognition) software such as ABBYY FineReader, Textbridge, or ReadIris which will read the image and then convert it into text.

Preserving Formatting

Whether you are working from application-generated or scanned PDFs, preserving the formatting of the original document is a challenge, especially if the document is rich in images and tables. Once you either extract or convert text, you will be able to manipulate the Word or Rich Text document so as to match the formatting of the PDF, but this is time consuming and not very feasible, especially if your contract with the client doesn’t reflect the extra time and effort necessary to return a perfectly formatted finished document.

If it’s important to your client that you produce a translation formatted exactly as the original was, request that they send the source files rather than a PDF. This will ensure that you are able to efficiently provide the client with a well-formatted translation.

You can then convert the finished document into a PDF for the client or return the Word or Rich Text document to them so that their graphic designers can lay out and format the piece as they wish.

Spreading the Message: Spanish Translations Reach a Wider Audience

Your product or service is solid and well-received. Your marketing materials are glossy and your copy punchy. You’ve created a niche for your company in all the major English-speaking markets. Yet you want to push sales to the next level. Take sales up a notch by reaching out to the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. and translating your message into Spanish.

The Hispanic community’s buying power is increasing rapidly as the Latino population explodes in the U.S. Getting your message out to this demographic can boost your sales, especially if you are in the automotive, personal care, telecommunications, or food and beverage industries.

While many Latinos are bilingual, 60% of Hispanics prefer to make buying decisions in Spanish. If your company translates its materials into Spanish, you will be reaching a demographic with the power and desire to purchase products and services.

Once you make the decision to translate your message into Spanish, don’t rely on just anyone to do the translation. Most companies have bilingual employees, but don’t assume that just because someone speaks both English and Spanish that they will be able to accurately and effectively translate your copy. Make sure that you entrust your PR materials to a skilled translator who will be able to create Spanish-language materials that are just as dynamic and audience-appropriate as
the English originals.

A solid and culturally appropriate Spanish translation can allow your company to tap into the Hispanic community and boost sales. You will be able to target Latino radio stations, Spanish-language publications, and television programs to access new customers.

Having translations of your materials is only a start to forming a relationship with Latino customers. Your publicity materials must be backed up by a solid understanding of how to provide customer service to this demographic. If you do business in any of the states with high numbers of Spanish-speaking residents, such as New York, California, Texas, or Arizona, you probably also have bilingual employees on staff. Make sure that you also have Spanish-speakers as front line customer service providers so that you can take your message all the way to the finish line of solidifying new customer relationships.

How do I count words in shapes and text boxes?

Those who usually need to count words in .doc documents (MS Word documents) may already know that words in text boxes cannot be counted using the Word count tool. There is a fabulous tool called CompleteWordCount which not only allows you to count words in: headers, footers, footnotes, endnotes, shapes ad text boxes and comments. It will even allow you to omit pages from the total word count. It is easy to install and is designed for Microsoft Word 2000 and later versions.
1. What does CompleteWordCount do?

The CompleteWordCount add in allows you to see a full word count for the different areas of your document.

2. Why doesn’t Microsoft Word give me an accurate word count?

Word does not give you a full word count of your document.Microsoft Word includes a built-in word counter. But it is not always accurate. It does not give you a count of all the words in your document. It doesn’t count words in headers or footers, or, importantly, in diagrams made up of text boxes, autoshapes and other Word elements. Only in later versions of Word can you get Word to include footnotes and endnotes in its count. Earlier versions of Word don’t count words in footnotes or endnotes.

How do I count words in shapes and text boxes?

Those who usually need to count words in .doc documents (MS Word documents) may already know that words in text boxes cannot be counted using the Word count tool. There is a fabulous tool called CompleteWordCount which not only allows you to count words in: headers, footers, footnotes, endnotes, shapes ad text boxes and comments. It will even allow you to omit pages from the total word count. It is easy to install and is designed for Microsoft Word 2000 and later versions.
1. What does CompleteWordCount do?

The CompleteWordCount add in allows you to see a full word count for the different areas of your document.

2. Why doesn’t Microsoft Word give me an accurate word count?

Word does not give you a full word count of your document.Microsoft Word includes a built-in word counter. But it is not always accurate. It does not give you a count of all the words in your document. It doesn’t count words in headers or footers, or, importantly, in diagrams made up of text boxes, autoshapes and other Word elements. Only in later versions of Word can you get Word to include footnotes and endnotes in its count. Earlier versions of Word don’t count words in footnotes or endnotes.