HomeQ&AIs it possible to scan a document, upload to the translator, and have it translated?

Is it possible to scan a document, upload to the translator, and have it translated?


I work in a law office and would like to send a form letter. I would like to scan the one I have in English and have it translated for me, is that possible?

updated MAR 25, 2010
posted by debtiffany

5 Answers


You can scan the document and have the image converted into text by an "optical character reader" (OCR). You can upload the resulting document to the translator using copy and paste. If the document is long, you may have to copy it in several smaller parts. Be sure to review, or have someone who is fluent in Spanish review, the output of the translator. The machine translators do not understand innuendos and often choose the wrong word.

Maybe a better option is to have the original document professionally translated.

updated MAR 25, 2010
edited by CalvoViejo
posted by CalvoViejo
I had no idea such things existed, cool. - TheSilentHero, MAR 25, 2010

I tried doing this recently, and the result was less than satisfying. The problem is that meaning is lost in translation in TWO spots: first, there's a loss of meaning when the OCR software tried to read the scanner input. Some letters weren't read correctly or weren't read at all. Secondly, automatic translators are imperfect, so there was another phase of meaning loss. The result was a barely intelligible Spanish.

updated MAR 12, 2011
posted by theshepster

As the previous SpanishDict members have already said, elctronic translations can often miss the subtelties of the message, and, at worst, contain outright errors. I think it was be most linguistically (and cost) effective to have the document translated by a professional translator...the cost of errors can be quite high. L.

updated MAR 25, 2010
posted by Lucrecia

Scanning creates an image not a text document.

.pdf files are not scanned images they are textfiles.

Tranlators cannot translate images.

You would need very special software to convert the image to text.

I am not sure your computer would be able to do that.

updated MAR 25, 2010
edited by ian-hill
posted by ian-hill
Actually, OCRs are fairly common, but not standard with an operating system. They are often used by persons with limited vision, as well as many businesses. - CalvoViejo, MAR 25, 2010

If you scanned it into a special kind of .pdf you could possibly be able to highlight the text and capy it that way. In that way you could put it through the translator...

I don't know if this helps at all. I don't know the specific way to make it into that type of .pdf where you can copy the text. All I know is that I have been able to copy text from .pdfs to paste in reports and term papers.

updated MAR 25, 2010
posted by Nathaniel
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