Word Document Translation and Multilingual Desktop Publishing
Microsoft Word is by far the most common file format for documents destined for translation. Due to the low price point and enormous pool of users proficient in Word, it is a logical choice for many projects that do not reach too high of a page count or have too much complexity.
Despite the wide spread use of Word, many users are not trained or skilled in essential advanced features, like creating a generated index, cross references, or the proper use of section breaks to control mixed page layout. GPI can help clients optimize their use of MS Word to create multilingual documentation ensuring the creation of localization friendly source language documentation. We also provide training and consulting to teach you to use these money-saving techniques yourself.
Best practices to optimize your Word documents for translation
There are many best practices to optimize your Word documents for document translation, but here are some of the top techniques to take advantage of:
- Import graphics by reference, rather than embedding graphics in the source file
- Using tabbed text for paragraphs that should flow in parallel columns or be in table cells
- Avoid fixed row height in tables, which do not allow for post document translation text expansion
- Avoid text boxes in illustrations with no room for text expansion
- Avoid section breaks immediately adjacent to numbered headings
- Avoid lists, indented text and headings that do not have a distinct style. In other words, avoid extensive format overrides to the baseline "Normal" paragraph style
- Avoid "fake" table of contents created with copy and paste, rather than a TOC generated from specific paragraph tags
- Avoid individual Word format overrides in generated TOCs
- Do not leave hidden comment text or suppressed "track changes" text in source documents destined for translation
- Do not use Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) in Word documents destined for translation
Further resources on Word from GPI blogs
GPI has developed a series of best practices for Word desktop publishing and translation. You will find some technical tips in our Word blogs:
- Four Things to Avoid Before Translating Word Documents
- 5 More Things to Avoid Before Translating Word Documents
- Extracting Word Format Source Files from PDF
GPI can provide training and/or consulting with your workflow to ensure that your Word documents are optimized for translation and localization. GPI has extensive experience in translating Word files into Arabic and other bidirectional languages.
For more information go to our request a quote, or call us at +1 866-272-5874.