Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

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?

share|improve this question
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

Is this the pdf involved ?

I tried a few things, like changing encoding, convert and re-encode, but i think you are in the situation described here :

your best bet is to save the PDF as a images (TIFF or PNG) and then combine them back together and OCR.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.