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PDF: A Double-Edged Sword

PDF files have gained a lot of popularity in recent years since they are ideal for quickly exchanging files and easy viewing. They can be exported from almost any type of graphic design tool or word processor, from Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to Word and PowerPoint, just to mention a few.

The acronym PDF stands for “Portable Document Format”. PDFs generally occupy very little space on the hard drive, which is why they can be sent so easily over email. It is not necessary to attach fonts, images or other elements to the document, the PDF file takes every element as a whole and displays the content exactly as it looks in its original format. It is ideal for sending texts in languages ​​with characters and symbols different from those we have installed on our computer, and moreover, keeps the format and style of the document intact.

But this type of file is also a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it has all the advantages described above, but it also has a feature that can make things a little complicated: PDFs are not editable. And when it comes to ​​translations, PDFs are often synonymous with delays and additional costs.

When a client sends documents in PDF format, in order to request a quotation or move forward with a translation, one of the first things we ask is whether they have the document in its original file format, that is, before it was converted into a PDF. This way we can start working directly with the file, but if our clients don’t have the original, the next step is to convert the PDF back to its source format, or any other editable format that the client prefers. The file then undergoes a pre-DTP step (preparation) in order to be able to translate the text. The duration of this process depends on the length and complexity of the file.

So, whenever we receive a document in PDF format that may need to be translated or edited in some way, it is always a good idea to ask for the original file to shorten times and lower costs.

For more information on PDF file translations, you can visit our website where you will find, in greater detail, the PDF translation process.