Microsoft Word is so often the application everyone loves to hate that medical translation professionals overlook one basic fact: it is the de-facto standard for word processing and basic formatting work among most medical device and pharmaceutical companies.
That's generally OK but it does create challenges when we work with new clients. Sometimes client contacts will send us files (or receive files from us) and say "hey - why does this look so different?"
The following is a typical question/problem:
I have a document which was created in Word XP and is 226 pages. When I send it to a client who is using Word 2003, it looks totally different and is over 330 pages. How can I send the client the document without it changing? Also, they wanted a pdf version, which looks nothing like the word document. How can I get the word document to look like the pdf?As we walk our clients through the causes and solutions, the most common answer involves print drivers.
Because MS Word is a WYSIWYG application, it tries to represent on screen the same result that you would get if you printed the document on the currently selected printer. And changing printer drivers will almost always change the layout at least slightly - and sometimes radically.
Sometimes the issue is with artwork, custom fonts, or inappropriate formatting. But usually it's much simpler, as is the solution that gets proposed by us and on the web (for samples check here and here): Print to PDF.
If you print or save the file into PDF format, installed fonts are irrelevant, formatting is static, and the document is not editable. At ForeignExchange, we generally supply a screen resolution PDF along with the file at final delivery.
Do you have any other tips or tricks on how to deal with MS Word reformatting issues?
[Thanks a lot, Megan, for the tip!]
Acrobat and Word are the tools of our trade, and we have written extensively about them. Here is a sampling of past articles:
- Tips and tricks for Microsoft Word
- Prepping messy files for TM usage
- Styles in word processors - joy or pain?
- Removing security from multiple PDF files
Take a look at ForeignExchange's desktop publishing and multimedia services for medical device and pharmaceutical companies and request a detailed proposal for your next multilingual desktop publishing project.