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I have a French thesis which I am trying to read, to better understand some parts I am trying to copy some text and use that in google translate, however if I copy text I am getting just rubbish as the pasted text. Most probably there is a problem with the encoding. And even more strangely, I can copy text from the first cover page of the document correctly which is also in French but from the rest, I am just getting a full of rubbish characters from the text that I pasted from the clipboard. Any ideas on how to read parts of this thesis?

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Did you try pdftotext? It's in the package called poppler-utils. –  January Nov 23 '12 at 18:36
    
thanks for the reply, I did not know this package but it is the same since the first page is read quite ok, and the other parts are not read correctly... A lot of crap characters... –  Umut Tabak Nov 23 '12 at 18:56
    
So show us a snippet with the strange characters. –  jippie Nov 23 '12 at 19:19
    
Laboratoire de M´canique des Sols, Structures et Mat´riaux - CNRS U.M.R. 8579 e e ^L^L" s^XA` ' ^XA` 6 W Q % X ^X "P ' ^X W " "i Q <91>(a<83>$^?I"y&%9^X^Q"IQ<98>(aF$^X9W&W7^X(#A<85> –  Umut Tabak Nov 23 '12 at 19:38

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