The principal products seem to be ABBYY FineReader and Nuance OmniPage. These two companies also have less expensive tools with fewer features (ABBYY PDF Transformer and Nuance PDF Converter). A recent LTD list discussion (see the LTD Mailing List for information on joining if you are an ATA member) introduced by member Betty Welker discussed which software is best for converting pdf files into MS Word documents.
I have PDF Converter (by Nuance), but I probably chose it based on price alone. At the time, I was more interested in marking up (editing) pdf files and converting Word files into pdf files. Most list contributors felt that…
…ABBYY FineReader was better. It has a spell check feature, does not create as many text boxes, and recognizes various languages well. One contributor stated that ABBYY FineReader recognized German better than OmniPage. I have found that PDF Converter recognizes Portuguese well, but I have not tested the others. One contributor asked if anyone has had any experience with ABBY FineReader for Lithuanian and Russian (it seems OmniPage recognizes these languages well). If you do, please comment below!
It seems ABBYY FineReader has 4 options for saving to MS Word, with decreasing amounts of retained formatting, while PDF Converter (which is the cheaper Nuance offering) has only one output format.
All programs have difficulty when faced with tables or handwriting. I wish there was some way for me to tell PDF Converter to just ignore images and handwriting and simply give me the text, maybe even without formatting. Unfortunately, translators are probably the only users who would be interested in this kind of output!
Does anyone know of any decent free (perhaps online) pdf–>text converters? I once downloaded a free text–>pdf converter and it did not work very well.
One user complained about ABBYY’s customer support, described as “pathetic”.
ABBYY FineReader costs about $250, but ABBYY PDF Transformer (which creates and converts PDF files) is only about $100. No one mentioned PDF Transformer, so I am not sure which capabilities are common to the less expensive and more expensive ABBYY tools. PDF Converter 4 costs about $50, while OmniPage costs about $150.
I am curious if any of these programs can deal with tif files. I actually receive far more tif files than pdf files.
If you have anything to add, or can answer any of the questions above, please comment.
Until the next post…