How to Translate French PDFs Into English

by Mara Shannon
James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty Images

A PDF file is essentially an electronic print-out: it contains information from another file type as it would appear on the pages of a printed document. A PDF in French could be made up of text or scanned images. The best way to translate a French PDF into English is to hire a professional translator; however, you may be able to translate the document yourself with the help of online translators and other free programs.

Step 1

Highlight a section of text

Highlight a section of text in the French PDF. If possible, convert the PDF to a text or Word document using an online converter, such as Zamzar, PDF Converter or PDF to Word, and proceed to Step 4. If you cannot, then the PDF is made up of images rather than text — proceed to Step 2.

Step 2

Convert the PDF to JPEG images

Convert the PDF to JPEG images with an online conversion site, such as You Convert It, Neevia Document Converter or Zamzar.

Step 3

Convert the images to text

Convert the images to text using a free optical character recognition website, such as Free OCR, New OCR or Online OCR. Copy and paste the text into a text or word processing document.

Translate the text from French to English

Translate the text from French to English using a free online translator, such as Google Translate, WorldLingo, SDL Free Translation or Babel Fish. Depending on the length of the document, you may have to copy and paste only a few paragraphs at a time into the online translator.


  • If the quality of the PDF is low, the OCR text may not be accurate. You may need to edit the images to make them clearer before you try to convert them with an OCR website and/or manually check the text for accuracy before you try to translate it into English.


Photo Credits

  • James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Mara Shannon is a writer whose work appears on various websites. Shannon also blogs about gaming and literature. Shannon holds a Bachelor of Arts in music with a focus on performance.

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