Useful Tools That Convert Files

July 31, 2015
Useful Tools That Convert Files

As a freelance translator, you’ll be dealing with a plenitude of different files from your clients, usually in a variety of different formats too! And sometimes you may be sent a file for which you don’t have the necessary software to open it. Whilst it’s always preferable to open a proprietary file in the same program as it was written in, there are workarounds that exist if you’re caught in a pinch.

This Translators’ Hub post will examine a few different ways of converting files for free (ABBYY and Adobe Acrobat X Pro are good paid options), and hopefully you won’t ever be in a position when you can’t open a certain file from a client. However, a brief word of warning before we begin: converting complex files can produce formatting inconsistencies, so please ensure you double check that the converted file is accurate before you start working on it!

Check your word processor

The first and most straightforward method of converting a document into another file type is to see whether your chosen word processor has the ability to do so natively. Both Google Docs. and Apple’s Pages both have the ability to import from and export to .docx (Word) files, so if you use these applications, you may already have all the necessary tools you need. 


Online-Convert is a leading conversion website that allows you to upload a file, and downloaded a complete conversion of it in a host of potential file formats. Online-Convert is both fast and free, and no additional software is needed to complete the conversion, making it ideally suited to freelancers who use multiple computers.


CloudConvert is similar to Online-Convert, but CloudConvert offers conversion options for more uncommon file formats too. CloudConvert is free to use for converting the odd document, but users who require more regular conversion, or who have larger files to convert, will need to consider taking out a subscription.

File Converter

File Converter is another online-based file converter, but what sets it apart from other alternatives is the company’s wide suite of Chrome apps, which make installing and using their conversion software quick and easy for users of Google’s browser or OS. Alternatively, you can simply use File Converter’s website. However, File Converter doesn’t seem as well established or reliable as the other methods mentioned above, and a number of negative user reviews on the Chrome web store might give you cause for concern. As such, it might be better to use File Converter as a last resort if the above methods fall short.

Final Thoughts

Have you ever been required to convert a document prior to translating it? If so, did you use any of the above methods to translate it accurately? Or maybe you used an alternative method to convert your document? If not, perhaps you might consider trying one when the need arises? Let us know about your experiences in the comments box below.

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



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