Issues with .xlf-files made via TransPDF when trying to upload it to Trados Studio 2017

This week I received a task from a customer which involved the translation of two PDF-files from English to Danish.
I am already aware of the fact that Trados Studio 2017 is able to translate PDF-files with a reasonable result. As I cannot accept a 'reasonable result' I decided to convert the PDF-files to Word (with Adobe DC) and afterwards translate them both in Traodos. The result was still not any good and then I remembered the site TransPDF where I have created a profile a while ago.

So I uploaded one of the PDF-files to the site and received a xlf-file in return. Unfortunately, Trados would not accept the file as I received an error message saying: “The file xx.xlf cannot be opened as it contains languages that are not configured for this translation” while trying to create a translation of a single document .

As I did not have time to work out how to solve the issue I ended up typing the Danish translation directly into a Danish version of the Word document which took me quite some time.

Afterwards I have discovered that the original language of both PDF-files is German and the original file type is InDesign (MAC). So I have actually tried to change the language in Trados Studio but without any luck.

I will look forward to hearing from you.

  • Hi  

    I think the first thing to note is that if the files were InDesign you should ask your client for IDML. InDesign can create PDF files, usually so users without InDesign can read the files in the intended layout, but they are not intended for translation. InDesign can also create an exchange file which has an IDML extension, and these files are the ones you want for a "perfect result" since Trados Studio has a filetype for these files.

    You might also find this service useful as they can provide you with a preview when translating IDML files:

    Coming back to the PDF and language issue. I'm not 100% sure I understand what happened here, but it sounds as though there may have been some automatic language recognition issues going on with the TransPDF facility, so perhaps you didn't notice that German was selected when you loaded the PDF? If you definitely selected EN - DA and a DE XLF was returned then you need to contact the team at TransPDF so they can help you to resolve the issue. Their contact details are in the app record on the appstore, or perhaps  can help.



  • Hi Paul.

    Thank you for your answer. Unfortunately I did not check the properties of the PDF-files before I started the conversion from PDF to Word. So it was when the conversion had been completed that I noticed that something was not right. So from now on I will check the type of the PDF before doing anything with it :0). So I will definitely remember to ask for IDML next time I receive a similar type of PDF-file.

    As for the PDF and language issue I did not explain the issue correctly as I did receive the PDF-files in English so I did choose EN - DA when loading the PDF-files to TransPDF. I did also receive an En - Da version of the .xlf-file (without being able to open it in Trados). It was during my retyping of the Danish translation into the Word document (i.e. originally the English versions of the PDF-files) that I discovered some German words. I also discovered after the conversion of the PDF-files into Word documents that the orignal language was set to German (even though the content was in English). So this is the reason why I believe that Trados must have recognized the German language in the .xlf-file and rejected the file as my standard languages in Trados are EN(US)-DA/ EN(GB)/DA and DA-EN(GB)/ DA-EN(US). I dope hope that my explanation makes sense to you.

    Best regards
    Susan Murphy Lamprecht