A quick way to translate PDF documents

on November 13 | in Lifestyle | by | with Comments Off on A quick way to translate PDF documents

In the course of my work with colleagues from Norway in the Learning Layers project, I come across many valuable reports that are written in Norwegian, which I unfortunately don’t speak. I used to upload the PDF files to Google Drive, open them with Google Docs, and then have that document translated using “Translate document…” from the menu “Tools.” Unfortunately, this process keeps the original pages in the translated document (good for learning the language perhaps) and, what is worse, messes up the formatting.

I have just discovered a much quicker and cleaner way to translate PDFs, via HTML converter and using the Chrome translator feature.Here are the steps:

  1. Use one of the freely available online tools to convert PDF to HTML, for instance this one or this one. Do this in a Chrome browser (might work the same way in Firefox and Internet Explorer, though I haven’t tried).
  2. Once the conversion is done, the browser window will open the html in the original language, but Chrome will either translate it almost immediately into the default language or ask you whether you what language you want the text translated into. You can change the settings here.
  3. Now you’ve got the document translated in HTML. You can either save the HTML (together with any images, which will be automatically stored in a separate folder) or save it as a PDF (right-click in the browser and then “Print…”).

If you save the translated document as an HTML, you just have to double-click the .html file to open it. If you save it as a PDF, you might find that it messes up some of the images.

Featured image by Alfonso distributed under a CC BY-NC 2.0 license

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