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Instructions How to Format in Microsoft Word – 3

Show the Backward P (Paragraph Mark)

When working in Word, it is useful to see the paragraph marks at the end of each paragraph, such as when you press Enter on the keyboard. This is also useful when selecting paragraphs. Here is a screenshot of this paragraph selected without the mark:


To always show the backwards P, go to Tools > Options > View Tab and select Paragraph Marks in the Formatting Marks section.

Alternatively, you can press the backwards P icon if in your toolbar, but that will also show tabs and spaces, making your document appear rather confusing.

If you copy the formatting of a paragraph, selecting also the P mark will copy the formatting of the paragraph, while selecting without the P mark will copy the formatting of the text only. It works similarly if copying the text itself, if you do not want to apply the paragraph’s format when pasting into a new location. Or you can just use your created ctrl+alt+v shortcut to Paste Special a selected paragraph, even if the P mark is also selected, and simply choose Unformatted Text from the resulting window (example here:)


This will paste your selected text into the new area where you place your cursor, but mimic the formatting of the area you are pasting into and not the paragraph formatting you are pasting from. A trick you will very frequently use in translation.

Viewing a Document

When working in a document, from the menu, choose View > Normal View (or ctrl+Page Down according to my suggested, created shortcut key), and then use your created shortcut key ctrl+alt+w (my choice) to adjust the text to Page Width. This will make the text as large and easily readable as possible.
ms-word-formatting-instructions-translation-jobs-work_image014Alternatively, with the mouse (slower), press the zoom icon on your toolbar and select Page Width (screenshot left)

and the Normal View icon on the bottom left (the Print/Page Layout icon is two to the right of it):


Sometimes you may want to jump to Page Layout view (my suggest shortcut key ctrl+Page Down) to see how the text sits relatively to the margins of the page. But it is certainly more pleasant to see the text as large as possible while translating.

Once you have completed your translation and performed some elementary formatting on its text, you can view the file in Page Layout view for final formatting. Either access VIEW > PAGE LAYOUT VIEW or press the small Page Layout view icon at the bottom left hand corner of the screen. Once in Page Layout view, you can see the page in Page Width view by pressing icon “11” or Whole Page view by pressing icon “12” (picture of toolbar icons). These views are useful for final formatting of your document.

In Page Layout view, you can view the vertical ruler bar and also manually change the page margins by positioning the mouse cursor over either end of one of the ruler bars until it turns into special arrows, dragging it elsewhere afterwards. Page margins can also be set by accessing FILE > PAGE SETUP.

Two Panes

Sometimes you might want to divide the view of a document into two panes, so that you can see two parts of a document at the same time (for example, when you are copy/pasting from one section to another, or need to refer to a particular section when translating in another). To do this (works in Excel and most programs), you will notice a small horizontal line above the right scroll bar.

ms-word-formatting-instructions-translation-jobs-work_image018Simply hold your mouse over top of this horizontal line until the mouse arrow turns into something else (should be a horizontal line with two arrows, one pointing up, the other down). Once the arrow changes, press down with your left mouse button and keep holding while you drag your mouse downwards, as such creating a new pane for your file. You can resize the pane in a similar manner any time. You can remove the ruler (ctrl+alt+r custom shortcut key) from either pane to increase the text area. If you plan to frequently jump from pane to pane, you can even create a shortcut key for this through the usual Tools > Customize > Keyboard > select “Window and Help” in the left window, and “OtherPane” in the right window. I like to use CTRL F1 as a shortcut key for this, since I use ALT F1 to jump between files.

Next – Selecting Text

Instructions How to Format in Microsoft Word – 2

Customize your Toolbar 

When you have a file open (press CTRL N to open a new file), you can access VIEW > TOOLBARS to choose which toolbars you want shown. You can also customize or create your own toolbars. To customize a visible toolbar, access TOOLS > CUSTOMIZE > TOOLBARS and then proceed to drag off any icons you do not want shown in your toolbar, dragging any icons you do want into your chosen toolbar from the Customize window. If you are not sure what a certain icon does, you can click on it in the Customize window and read the description below. When this Customize window is open, you can also move the various icons within the toolbar, separating some from others in the process.

Below is shown the toolbars we have customized for ourselves with an explanation of each icon.


1 creates a new file [ctrl+n]
2 opens an existing file [ctrl+o]
3 makes the selection or following text subscript
4 makes the selection or following text superscript
5 inserts a table (very useful)
6 “undos” chosen steps [ctrl+z]
7 “redoes” chosen “undoed” steps [ctrl+y]
8 starts bullets (pressing again stops them)
9 shows or hides the ruler bar(s)
10 shows text in Normal, 100% view
11 shows text in page width view (Normal or Page Layout view)
12 shows whole page in Page Layout view
13 shows document in whatever view you are using without any of the toolbars etc.
14 show hidden markers (good if you want to see where you pressed Enter or Tab)
15 used for zooming in or out
16 shows the border toolbar (good for when working with tables, but can also be used in the actual text part of the document)
17 shows the graphics toolbar
18 these six add or remove rows, columns or cells from a table
19 show or hide the structure of an unbordered table
20 show the active style
21 shows or is used to change the active font [ctrl+shift+p]
22 shows or is used to change the font size [ctrl+shift+p]
23 make or not make bold [ctrl+b]
24 make or not make italisized [ctrl+i]
25 make or not make underlined [ctrl+u]
26 left justification [ctrl+l]
27 center justification [ctrl+e]
28 right justification [ctrl+r]
29 left and right justification
30 ask for help on
31 the Ruler Bar (explained below)

But since I made the above picture, I have simplified this further into the following three toolbars:


Since I work on a laptop, which has a smaller screen, I put my most important icons in a single toolbar (the top left). You can create your own toolbar by going to Tools > Customize > Toolbar tab, press the New button/icon, or simply choose an existing toolbar and drag in the icons you want and out the ones you do not need (ones for which there is a shortcut key).

On the top right is the Revisions toolbar, which automatically pops up when you are in Revisions mode. I dragged the important icons out from there into my main toolbar and kept the “Final Showing Markup” icon in place, as it did not let me drag it out. Make sure that your main toolbar is short enough to allow room for the Revisions toolbar.

So, when working with two windows on your screen (such as a PDF file of the source text on the top half of the monitor and the Word file you are translating in on the bottom half), due to limited space, remove the ruler if you don’t need it and use only one strip for the toolbar, as in this screenshot:


Notice how I buried the bottom scroll bar in Word out of view to maximize the visual area for text.

Without the ability to squeeze your two windows efficiently onto a single screen, either you need to plug in a larger screen, use two screens at once for different purposes (Display icon in the Control Panel), or print out your source file.

Next – Show the Backward P (Paragraph Mark); Viewing a Document

Instructions How to Format in Microsoft Word

(Click here to view this 8 page series as a simplified SlideShare presentation.)

Microsoft Word is very prevalent in the translation industry. It works closely with translation memory tools like Trados and is used by many customers of translation agencies, so it is important to know all that it can accomplish and how to work with it quickly.

Not only is it important to know how to use this software quickly and efficiently, but how to properly format the content so that it accurately reflects the source documents you are translating from.

We are paid by the word, after all (so time is money), and presentation is important and a reflection of your professionalism.

The below was written for Word 2003 or earlier, because I don’t like the set up of later versions, but the same menu items should remain (although structured differently), while the shortcut keys largely remain the same.

Customize Your Shortcut Keys

ms-word-formatting-instructions-translation-jobs-work_image001First to set up your toolbar and shortcuts. If you click on any of the file menus, the dropdown list will show you a list of commands with the shortcut key on the right, such as Edit > Paste would be ctrl+v in the example picture below. Many are set by default, although you can override them.

To create your own shortcut keys, on the menu bar, go to Tools > Customize and click on the Keyboard button.


The Categories box on the top left of the Customize Keyboard window will reflect the menu bar, while the Command box to the right of it will show the available commands for each menu item. Or you can select All Commands in the Category box to view all of them/more.

Once you find the command you want to create a shortcut key for, click with your mouse inside the Press New Shortcut Key box, press the combination of keyboard keys you want to use (such as ctrl+o for Open File), and then press the Assign button. It should appear in the Current Keys box to the left. In this manner you can override existing and already assigned shortcut keys, or create new ones.

Here is a list of what I consider the most important shortcut keys and the ones I chose to use (my own custom shortcuts marked in orange, the unmarked ones should be default and already exist).

Create new file – ctrl+n
Open existing file – ctrl+o
Save file – ctrl+s
Close file – ctrl+w
Make selected text bold or start new text bold – ctrl+b
Same but italic – ctrl+i
Same but underlined – ctrl+u
Align text left – ctrl+l
Align text centre – ctrl+e
Align text right – ctrl+r
Copy text/picture/anything – ctrl+c
Paste – ctrl+v
Copy formatting of selected text – ctrl+shift+c
Paste formatting of copied formatting – ctrl+shift+v
Paste special (I usually choose Unformatted Text from the resulting selection box, so that whatever text I am pasting is automatically the same as the format of the text I am pasting into) – ctrl+alt+v
Return formatting of selected paragraph to default (must include the backwards P) – ctrl+shift+n
Return formatting of selected text to default – ctrl+space bar
Change case of selected text (keep pressing to toggle between the three options – all caps, no caps, or one first letter capitalised of each word) – Shift+F3
Search for text – ctrl+f
Search and replace text – ctrl+h
Undo last action (in case you make a mistake – you can go back many steps) – ctrl+z
Redo last action (basically move back forward if you went back too far) – ctrl+y
Select entire table – ctrl+alt+t
Delete row of table – alt+r
Show or hide ruler – ctrl+alt+r
View document in Page Width – ctrl+alt+w
Index text to the right (according to the tab marks) – ctrl+m
Push indent back to the left – ctrl+shift+m
Push hanging indent to the right – ctrl+t
Push hanging indent back to the left – ctrl+shift+t
Select all text in document – ctrl+a
Supercript text (such as for footnotes) – ctrl+2
Subscript text – ctrl+1
View document statistics (for quick word counts etc) – alt+s
Page break (don’t press Enter until you start a new page because, not only is it not professional, but your customer can be using a different printer or paper size, in which case everything will change) – ctrl+Enter
Line break (remains within the same paragraph or bullet etc., indents with a hanging indent) – shift+Enter
Normal view – ctrl+page up
Page Layout view – ctrl+page down
Jump to other panectrl+F1

The rest of the more common commands I do not use so frequently, so I put them in the toolbars instead, explained as follows.

Next page – Customize your Toolbar

(Click here to view this 8 page series as a simplified SlideShare presentation.)

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How to Provide a Perfect Translation

It is easy for many people not working in the translation field to believe that the process of translation is a simple one, like dropping a steak into a grinder, pressing a button, and out comes a hamburger. I have seen big billboards with bad grammar plastered across an entire city,

Vrbovo, Bulgarian Mountains

Pictures of my travels while translating: Vrbovo, Bulgarian Mountains

as if the owner of the company located in a non-English speaking country felt that the process was simple enough he could ask his daughter to translate his text, since she was studying English at school. But how much does it cost to print a billboard and the advertising space across a city or country, as opposed to hiring a native speaker to properly proofread the translation? It only turns into a bad advertisement and a poor investment.

But many customers know the importance of a good translation and proper expression. After all, such impressions affect sales and make an investment more worthwhile. Such customers will scrutinize your work, using the services of someone they trust to verify your quality.



And translation agencies will take similar precautions, to ensure that their customers are satisfied with their service and keep coming back to them with more work. In this way the translation process becomes a chain of processes, each one in turn verified by a quality control system.

Fortunately, there are a few tips you can use to ensure that your translation is flawless and that it will win confidence amongst your customers.


This issue is actually contested within the translation community. While some say that a translation should be more true to the original or source formulation, becoming rather pedantic in their expression,

Thassos island, Greece

Thassos island, Greece

others feel that the final product is really what matters and that the expression should reflect the norms and preferences of the audience for which the text is targeted.

For example, a customer writes some text, using idioms and expressions well known in their language or country, the formulation accepted with humor and appeal amongst its population, while the entire concept may seem foreign, or even absurd, in another language.

Many customers might have a solid understanding of the language their text is translated into and carefully compare your translation against their document, quickly pointing out inconsistencies in precise meaning.



In such cases one must be careful in explaining that a certain formulation simply does not read or come across well in another language and that your formulation remains faithful to the overall concept, but that its expression reads better and will yield more fruitful results.

This principle rings more true when a text is marketing oriented, such as a travel brochure or business proposal. In such cases, before starting on the translation, you might be advised to explain to your customer these principles and your personal approach, offering to provide a short translation sample and suggest some places where they can find native speakers to properly assess your quality. Better than to try and explain all this to a disgruntled customer once the translation is complete and you are forced to justify your deviations from their exact formulation.

Expert in the Field

If the text is somewhat outside your area of expertise, it is still possible to produce a high quality translation, but it may require the help of a consultant. You can research the topic on the web, creating a list of correct glossary terms and accepted formulations,



but often it can be quite useful to have an expert handy to ask questions or go over points you are not certain about. Ideally, the person should be proficient in both languages and know the proper formulations in both.

For example, you translate from French to English and your customer demands native English quality. Ideally, you find an English to French translator who specializes in the material and regularly translates in it. They will have the advantage of frequently reading English source material in the subject and be familiar with the proper terminology and formulations.

In my home made camper van, solar panels on roof.

In my home made camper van, solar panels on roof.

One option is they translate the document for you and you proofread their work. Unfortunately, that would put less into your own pocket, and unless their level of English is extremely good, it is difficult to reformulate poor formulations, making the final product turns somewhat of a bandaid job, not entirely sounding native.

To find your own consultant you can post a job offer on such forums as proz.com or translatorscafe.com, preferably several consultants, as not everyone is always available to answer your questions,

On a public wall in Turkish side of Cyprus

On a public wall in Turkish side of Cyprus

which often need to be answered as a deadline is approaching. From past experience though, finding quality people willing to help you is not as easy as one might think.

Another good option is to post your questions on such site’s as proz’s Kudoz. Before approaching the community you can first search through previous questions before posting your own question. You can usually get good feedback from this forum because those who provided the best answer will get rewarded with kudos points,

Nature park in England

Nature park in England

which earns them more credibility and pushes their profile up in the search results, helping them acquire more work. And for you, if you choose the best selection, award them some points and click the checkbox to add that term to the glossary, you will earn Browniz points, which you can then convert to credit in your wallet, or perhaps more importantly, use those points to gain access to a company’s BlueBoard record to read comments about it submitted by other translators. This is useful when evaluating a new client, as we all want to get paid for our hard work.

Another trick is to use google’s search results to determine the more popular and commonly used term or way of saying something. If the term or expression you chose is not so commonly used, google will often suggest an alternative. Explore the alternatives,

Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava, Slovakia

scan through and evaluate some of the documentation they were used on, and make your most educated decision. It may seem like a lot of work, but if your client finds flaws they may quickly lose confidence and try someone else. Then you don’t get any work from them at all. So it is better to invest the time and energy to make sure your work is spot on. Build up your client base, and when you get too much work, simply start increasing your prices. Many customers understand the importance of a quality translation and are willing to pay top dollar for it. Take your work seriously and you will build a successful and lucrative career in this profession.


From all this you can see that to provide quality work is much more than spitting it through google’s translator. Fine wine needs time to age properly, and a good translation requires sufficient time for quality control.

Koh Phangan, Thailand

Koh Phangan, Thailand

Generally the proofreading/research stage of your translation will take between one third and half the time of the actual translation, so make sure you manage your time with this in mind. There is nothing worse than assuming you have tons of time, then find out you are running out of it and cut corners on the issues you are not certain of. If you deliver ahead of schedule, you will only impress your customer. If you cut corners to deliver on time, you risk losing them forever, and if you miss the deadline, well, all sorts of problems can ensue because of that and you may lose them this way as well.


And lastly, make sure you know how to package your translation in the most presentable manner.

Vrbovo, Bulgaria

Pictures of my travels: Vrbovo, Bulgaria

There are many tricks how to quickly adjust tabs, margins, copy/paste formatting, make text bold, insert pictures and other important formatting work in various programs. Since Microsoft Word is very predominant in the industry, you can check out some quick tips on how to format in Word. You may have produced the most eloquent and bang on translation, but if it will cost your customer time in making it presentable, you are adding an unnecessary blemish to your work.

More translation tips.

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