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Typing-up tips and formatting tricks for Translators

Working with headers and footers in Word

1) Add a header by going to Insert on the ribbon and then Header. Click the arrow and choose one of the options available. In most cases the best thing to do is pick Blank as shown below:

If you need the same footer on every single page of your document, then nothing else needs to be done with your footer once you have set it up. But if you need the page number, date or some other information to be changed (or completely different text!), then there are a few steps you need to follow.

2) Insert a next page (section) break at the bottom of the first page.

a) Go to Layout and then Breaks. Click Next Page as shown below.

b) Take the cursor to the header area and right-click to bring up

Click the dialogue box to open this formatting box in the ribbon.

c) If you want the header to be the same, click Link to Previous. If you do not and it is already enabled (there is a box which says Same as Previous), click it to disable this feature and then type the desired text. Sometimes all you have to do is change a number so this saves a lot of time. You will see that the header is called Header – Section 2 -. Every time you add a section break the numbering of the headers and footers will go up. You can also set headers and footers for even and odd pages, but this is not needed very often.

3) Insert a footer in the same way. Go to Insert on the ribbon and then Footer. Click the arrow and select Blank like before (unless you want to use one of the other layouts).

Follow the same steps to edit the footer. Often we have typing-up jobs that consist of several files scanned into a single PDF so the total number of pages does not match with the information in the footers. The Link to Previous function is very useful here, whether the information is identical or different.

If you need to delete a section break, move the cursor to immediately before the break and press Delete twice. Be careful though as sometimes this may delete all the formatting. Try to have a space or empty line before a section break if possible as this aids formatting work later on.

Redacting text

When you are typing up a translation in Word from a source file containing personal information, sometimes this information has been blacked out in the PDF. You can either write [redacted] in your translation or if the client wants it to look like the original source you can do this:

1. Type a word matching the length of the redacted text (spaces will not work).

2. Go to the “Text Highlight Color” button in the Font menu on the ribbon.

3. Change the colour to black.

4. Highlight the relevant word(s) and then click on the button. The text will now look like this:

Pasting images copied from PDFs

Sometimes we are asked to copy existing English text or graphs and diagrams from the source PDF into the translation file. Occasionally these become too large for the page when pasted so we need to adjust the size and positioning. Section/page breaks are also helpful here.

1. Highlight the area you want to copy in the PDF file.

2. Right-click and select “Copy image” to copy the selection.

3. Use Ctrl + V to paste into your Word file.

As you can see, this is very small. In other cases the image will be too large. Right-click on the image and a drop-down menu will appear:

4. Click “Size and Position” and adjust the % until you get the right proportions.

Sometimes, e.g. with logos, you may find it helps to paste them into a text box if you need the text to be in a particular area of the page.

Inserting mathematical characters

There are a few different ways to insert mathematical characters. The best method depends on which characters you need. The most obvious is to use “Insert -> Symbol” and then find the symbol on the character map. It is worth noting here that sometimes the character map in Word is not complete, so it can be handy to have Character Map installed as a separate app. Just use the search function on your desktop to find it and then pin it to your task bar.

It may be easier to use short codes for some characters such as the division and multiplication signs and degree/power signs.

These can be inserted using Alt + 















Other symbols such as ≥ can be inserted by typing a code and then Alt +x simultaneously.













If you want to use equations it may be advisable to simply copy from the source file and adjust as discussed above. Word does offer help on equations though.

Copying layout from a PDF file

As you can see from the image below, sometimes you will need to recreate a table:

1. Use “Insert -> Table -> Insert Table


2. Use the cursor or change the number of columns and rows in the box to set the correct size. In this case we need 6 and 5 respectively. Once you have the table you can adjust the width of each column and row as needed. You can split and merge individual sections too.


3. Right-click on the table and select “Split Cells…”.

4. Choose the appropriate number of columns and rows.

5. Then repeat if you need a more complex split as shown above.

6. If you need to repeat exactly the same split, you can press Ctrl + Y immediately afterwards with the cursor in the relevant field.


7. If you need to shade a field, use the “Shading” button in the Paragraph menu on the ribbon.

8. Select a colour and wherever the cursor is that area will change colour.

Keeping documents the same number of pages

Translating from one language to another often involves text expansion. As a result it can be difficult to keep the number of pages the same. Here are some simple tips for how to do this:

1. Reduce the font size. Use 0.5 pt increments. Remember to try and use the closest font to that used in the original as this can help too. It also improves the look of the text if the fonts match. The most common fonts to use are Times New Roman and Arial.

2. Reduce the margins. Reduce in 0.5 cm increments.

3. Reduce the size of the paragraph markers in between pieces of text. You can also close up the line spacing:

The default setting in Word is Calibri, 11 point with multiple spacing. Quite often you will need Arial, 10 point with single spacing with no spacing after.