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Translator's Shack is a collection of links, news, reviews and opinions about translation technologies. It's edited and updated by Roberto Savelli, an English to Italian translator, project manager and company owner of Albatros Soluzioni Linguistiche, a team of English-Italian translators, which hosts and supports this blog.

The Life as a PM category, managed by Gabriella Ascari, contains topics that are less technical in nature, but which we're sure will be appreciated by owners of small translation businesses and freelancers.

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Free PDFUnlock! web service allows to remove limitations from PDF files [@PDFUnlock]

Reference material plays a very important part in most translation projects. We often receive reference files from our clients, and sometimes we have to find them ourselves through web searches or by browsing the client’s website.

The management and usage of reference files is one aspect that has been introduced in memoQ’s LiveDocs feature, which allows to create searchable corpora of monolingual source and target files. So it’s finally time to put all those reference PDFs to good use! But wait, there’s a catch…

Very often, publishers put locks on PDF files for various reasons, e.g. intellectual property protection, forced consistency by preventing unwanted changes, etc. Here is an example of the possible locks that can be applied to a PDF file (in this case the file is completely unlocked):


Today we needed to unlock a few PDF files in order to use them in LiveDocs. While looking for a possible solution, I came across the PDFUnlock! web service. It’s very simple to use: you upload a locked PDF file and you immediately receive a link to download the unlocked file. Here are some features from the site’s description:

PDF files can be secured with restrictions that prevent you from for example copying text from them or editing, printing, merging or splitting them. PDFUnlock! can remove these restrictions (a.k.a “owner password”).

If a password is required to open the uploaded file, you will be asked to enter it (a.k.a “user password”). PDFUnlock! cannot, however, recover lost or unknown user passwords.

A PDF file can also be subject to non-standard encryption, such as DRM. PDFUnlock! does not remove such.

There is a further limitation: the maximum file size is 5 MB. And, of course, the rule of thumb that applies to all free, unencrypted, unprotected web services: do not send anything confidential for conversion.


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