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Microsoft Word — problems when translating documents

Summary

Microsoft Word documents may be problematic during or after translation. Good to know how to avoid possible problems. We list the most common issues that you cannot ignore before you start to translate Microsoft Word document.

Video Transcript

Problems when translating documents in Microsoft Word

In this video you will learn which elements of the Word document you are going to translate can cause problems.

Microsoft Word documents can be translated in several ways.

The source text can be overwritten, we can use tables to manage the document content, then the source text can be put into one column and the translation into the next one.

We can also use a computer assisted translation tool like Wordfast or Trados.

In any case the translation of the text can be straightforward or difficult, really problematic and full of unpleasant surprises.

Depending on how the document is built and if the text is formatted properly.

If we want to avoid problems during or after translation, we have to check and if necessarily to correct some elements of the Word document, we're going to translate BEFORE we start to translate this document.

In this video we're only going to list issues that may be important and problematic for the translation process.

Detailed explanations and solutions to them we talk in our Ninja courses and mini tutorials.

The first thing we have to check is the Track change function. It must be turned off and all changes must be accepted or rejected. Otherwise the translation will appear in the document as a "change" that can be accepted or - rejected at the end.

Not properly formatted paragraphs for sure the most common issue you will come across when translating Word documents.

Tabulate and paragraph marks or manual line breaks instead of correct paragraph formatting, indents and spaces between paragraphs. They can make translator’s life really hard.

Embedded or linked objects of other applications. They often cannot be translated in Word. Sometimes you can double click them to open the source application to edit the object. If you have the application installed on you computer. But most often you just do not have access to their origin application and so to their content.

Text boxes (often grouped together) can be really problematic because we do not always see the entire text they contain, because we do not always have full access to their content and because their size and location can change so that the translated version does differ to much from the original document.

Table of contents should be generated automatically, always! Never create it by writing in its items. It should be created automatically, never translated and always updated at the end.

Column, section and page breaks can cause several issues, so we should always watch out for them. They have to be separated from the main text. After the translation you should check if the translated text does appear in the same place as the original text.

Auto generated data, hyperlinks and fields. These are elements that we cannot translate straightforward. We have to know how to edit them and how to put in the translation, if needed.

Hidden text. Is just a text formatted with the hidden-attribute. It must not, but it may be problematic in certain circumstances, for example when we are using a cat tool. Then the hidden-attribute might be used to exclude certain text parts from the translation process.

That’s all.

The listed elements may cause most common problems we may come across when translating formatted text documents created in Microsoft Word or a similar text editor.

If you are not sure how to solve such problems by yourself check out our Ninja courses for translators or watch other mini tutorials on our website.


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