Anyone thrilled with ABBYY 12 for converting pdf documents to Word processor format may wonder why Amazon does not sell version 14. Version 12 is all sold out, and you have to go to the company website to even order 14. For specific information be prepared to paw through some inelegantly translated descriptions. It turns out that ABBYY 14 is to ABBYY 12 as Windows Vista is to Windows 2000. See for yourself.
Here is how a chunk of Brazilian legalese converted with ABBYY 12 loads into memoQ (a standard translation-assistant tool):
Here is how that same section imports after conversion with ABBYY 14:
The reason I converted again with ver. 12 was that it would take ten times longer to unmangle the ver. 14 output document and make it translatable. The mess of formatting codes you see was left over after I polished up the fonts for consistency, leaving no font stretching, shrinkage or mixing of sorts. ABBYY 14 produces conversions that are absolutely useless for translation and nearly impossible to clean up using the current version of Winword. Small wonder nobody but ABBYY wants to sell it! But there is hope.
While I was struggling to find a way to buy the program (after exhausting all possibilities of purchasing another ABBYY 12) I asked about the possibility of converting without MS Office installed. Nobody at ABBYY had a clue whether their new product would work with Apache Open Office. Omega-T, a free, open-source translation tool, works fine with Microsoft’s competitors. As soon as I installed ABBYY 14 on a clean machine, I tested it with Apache Open Office and no MS Office installed. The conversion worked! The resulting word processor file looked presentable, needing only the usual touch-ups
Once I get caught up I’ll reopen the ABBYY 14 file and save it using the Apache open source program to see if it makes any improvement. Some pdf converters litter the output with “text boxes” that move unpredictably and mess up translations. Opening and saving the resulting Word file with Microsoft’s simple Wordpad gets rid of those, and the resulting file is often salvageable for translation with professional warez. Stay tuned. In the meantime, Caveat Emptor! One sweet solution could be for ABBYY to rename ver. 12 as ver. 14 and forget all about the hideous v.14 miscarriage–kind of the way Microsoft did after releasing Windows Vista.
UPDATE: ABBYY techs suggested using the formatted text option to export converted files. That “solved” the most distressing problem. The interface, however remains user-hostile and even with that work-around all progress is much slower than in ver. 12
My book on the Crash and Depression is out in Portuguese and English on Amazon.com