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Free OCR tool on your own PC November 4, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Tools.

Tuomas Kostiainen and I presented at last week’s ATA conference on Making Portable Document Format Files Work for You. I feel very passionately that every translator should be familiar with the concept of Optical Character Recognition (OCR). I OCRed four files yesterday alone. My program of choice (and the favorite of most translators I know) is ABBYY FineReader, but there are plenty of other tools out there.

I wish this blog post (in German and English) had been written before the conference so I could have told everyone that they already have a free OCR program, Microsoft Office Document Imaging, on their computer (Start->All Programs->Microsoft Office Tools->MS Office Document Imaging). We did list it in the handout, and I mentioned the program in passing. However, if I had realized how ubiquitous the program was I probably would have pushed it more. Julia does a very good job explaining how the program works – with lots of excellent screenshots.



1. Tess - November 4, 2009

Thank you Jill! I do not need to use OCR that much so a free tool is just what I need for now. Great presentation at the conference btw.

2. Ryan Ginstrom - November 4, 2009

This is one of the cases where I envy translators of European languages. Even commercial Japanese OCR is still far from problem-free.

3. textlation - November 5, 2009

Thanks again for the pingback, Jill!
However, you can take the ‘warning’ out – there is also an Egnlish version now: http://textlation.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/erkennen-sie-schon-oder-tippen-sie-noch/#english
Have a great day!

jillsommer - November 5, 2009

Excellent! I have made the necessary changes to the post. Thanks for posting this, Julia. It’s very helpful for those who haven’t ever used OCR.

4. Craig - November 5, 2009

I have Office 2007 on the machine I am using right now, and Microsoft Office Document Imaging is not installed. The suite was preinstalled on the laptop, and I only had to purchase a license for it after 30 days; perhaps it is a streamlined version, though it was sold as the small business edition.

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