An OCR software program is any computer tool or program that performs Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and is normally used in translation agencies for converting PDF files that come from different sources.
This tools are ideal for converting Adobe InDesign, Quark, Illustrator, or other formats commonly used in design. Typically, translators are not familiar with these tools, but the Project Managers of the agencies need to be, since they are usually the people who are responsible for the conversion of files and subsequent word count analysis. An OCR program is a tool by which a PDF document, usually not editable, becomes an editable Word file that can subsequently be used for translation.
Depending on the type of file, a PM knows what kind of OCR to use. For example, Abby Reader is a tool that works seamlessly with non-editable PDFs, such as medium quality scanned files (beware of poor quality scans, these are usually a recurring problem), image files or documents without a specific source. Abby Reader, then, “optically recognizes” this non-edible file and transforms it into an editable Word document. To convert an editable PDF (for example a PDF whose source file is an MS Word document, but that document is not available and it still has to be converted to work), however, the best tool to use in this case is Solid Converter.
Note: all this seems very easy at first, but there is always the possibility of optimizing the use of these tools. For example, a file scanned and processed with Abby is not always converted perfectly: it is likely that the file has tables or columns that make conversion difficult. Another case is headers and footers in a Word document. These can cause problems when converting a file. For these cases, there are always settings you can adjust to address these issues before using the OCR software. We recommend consulting a tutorial or online help to learn more about how to work with these tools.
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