PDFs are one of the most universally accepted file formats in the world. They are a wonderful way of publishing content to ensure that it stays protected and, at the same time, remains widely accessible, regardless of the tool used to generate it.
So please don't get us wrong. 😀 We love PDFs; we just don't love to translate them, and here is why:
1) PDF files confuse BWX in terms of line breaks and sentence endings. Here is a simple example:
to eat apples."
Let's suppose that this sentence was in PPTX with a line break between the first and second parts of the sentence. BWX won't know for a fact if this line break is the intended end of the sentence or is supposed to be ignored.
This impacts your translation memory utilization and savings.
Let's suppose that "I love to eat apples." has already been translated into a DOCX file. BWX will think that "I love" and "to eat apples." have not been translated, and this will not result in the savings we could potentially generate.
But that's actually the "nicer" concern. Here is where it gets ugly:
2) PDF files are a nightmare to regenerate when we need to re-format
Sentences get rewritten when they are translated. A short sentence can become long, and a long sentence can become short, depending on the content type and language combination. This means that typically text boxes need to be resized and line breaks need to be fixed as part of our post-translation layout adjustment stage.
Rather than work with your source PPTX, InDesign, Illustrator, or other authoring software file, our design team has to re-create the document from scratch, resulting in a lot more work ($$$), greater timelines for completion, and, as they may work, it's never the same as working from your source files.
There are other ramifications as well, but the important concept to point out is that even though it is a bit of a hassle to work with your internal teams or agencies to get your source files over to us, it is worth it in the short, medium, and long run.
We won't turn down a PDF translation, but we want to be transparent that it makes for a more cumbersome, costly, and lengthy translation process, while our goal is always to provide you with the best, most efficient, and most cost-conscious solution.