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An urgent warning about Word for Mac 2011
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Feb 19, 2011

I have just spent the last 2 days working hard on a very difficult translation using a copy of a Word document sent to me by the client.

I do not know what version of Word was used to create the original document.

About 45 minutes ago my beautiful translation suddenly turned into pages and pages of "X" s and an "error report" window came up. So naturally I reported the error to Microsoft, but I've lost all my work.

Be warned ! Don't use Word for Mac 2011 or if you do, ensure you make an automatic backup about every 5 minutes.

I foolishly wasn't doing that (though I am now as I work my way again through the entire translation).


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:37
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Why I use always use CAT tools Feb 20, 2011

Tom, I feel your pain - really! Which points to one advantage of using a CAT tool even when the benefit in terms of reps or fuzzies is minimal: if the working file goes bad, you still have the TM.

[Edited at 2011-02-20 05:33 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:37
French to German
+ ...
Can you tell us more? Feb 20, 2011

Hello Tom,
can you tell us more? I haven't upgraded from Office:mac 2008 yet (and think I already wrote about different and general problems/errors with this version elsewhere on ProZ.com), so I wonder if Office:mac 2011 is worth purchasing - apart from the reintroduction of VBA in Word.

After all, I still can do translations with Writer or Pages and use Word:mac only for fixing minor issues (formatting ones being the most prevalent).


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
More Feb 20, 2011

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

Hello Tom,
can you tell us more? I haven't upgraded from Office:mac 2008 yet (and think I already wrote about different and general problems/errors with this version elsewhere on ProZ.com), so I wonder if Office:mac 2011 is worth purchasing - apart from the reintroduction of VBA in Word.

After all, I still can do translations with Writer or Pages and use Word:mac only for fixing minor issues (formatting ones being the most prevalent).


Hi Laurent

I was just beginning to get used to the new Office:Mac 2011. A number of changes have been made to it that seem to me like retrogressive steps rather than progress, notably the disappearance of the formatting palette in Word, which is gone and is now replaced by a fixed side panel - which means that if you're working on a small screen you have a lot less room.

I often wonder what the people are thinking who (re)write these applications.

In Excel, if you use Find/Replace, the plus is that it now (at last!) tells you how many instances of a term it has changed, but the minus is that having done that, you can't go straight back to what you're working on; you first have to manually close the find/replace palette - which means thousands more clicks you have to do. Mouse clicks worry me because I tend to suffer from RSI (repetitive strain injury).

Another *apparent* plus (until yesterday) was that unlike Word 2004, Word 2011 seemed not to crash (Word 2004 crashes all the time)- so I opened my source and target files and settled down to a long day wrestling with a really problematic translation.

Then bingo- at about 9.30 PM ( I don't remember exactly what I was doing as I tend to work like a maniac, intensively) the whole target file suddenly filled itself up with the letter X and using "undo" had no effect.

Was this a virus in the file or a serious glitch in the software? I don't know but automatically, Word opened up an "error report" application and asked me to send all the details to Micros$ft, including the 2 files (source and target). So MS knew something had gone wrong in the software. I don't think it was a virus.

I suspect it was the non-standard characters the Author inserted into the file, as parts of some mathematical formulae (Greek letters that Word probably wasn't able to find in its font cache....or something).

So now I have to start that translation all over again but temporarily deleting the non-standard characters (which I can copy/paste back in again, later).

But from now on I will be very unwilling to use Word 2011. Despite the difficulties due to the constant crashing, I'll be using Word 2004 combined with Apple Pages (which is stable). My only concern is that when the MacOSX Lion is released it may not include Rosetta, i.e. it will no longer be possible to run older apps such as Office 2004.

Wish me luck ! I have a deadline to meet. Luckily I was ahead of time but the deadline is one day closer now and I was beginning to loathe the document I was translating. Now I have to go through it all again *deep sighs*

[Edited at 2011-02-20 09:58 GMT]


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Aude Sylvain  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:37
English to French
+ ...
- Feb 20, 2011

Hello Tom,

I really sympathise; this won't help you getting your file back, but I would recommend to set up the automatic back up timing so it occurs as frequently as possible. Personally I use the 1 minute timing, and that's one of the first options I change anytime I have a new Word version.

I don't remember Word 2004 I must say, but I feel like Word 2011 is far more reliable and intuitive than Word 2008, which was really awful in my view.
I installed 2008 on 3 or 4 laptops throughout the years and on each of them (mostly powerful MPBs) it would take ages to launch, then crash once per day at the very minimum...

I only have the trial version of 2011 though, and I've been using it since a couple of weeks, I may be less optimistic within a few weeks...


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
YEs but Feb 20, 2011

Aude Sylvain wrote:

Hello Tom,

I really sympathise; this won't help you getting your file back, but I would recommend to set up the automatic back up timing so it occurs as frequently as possible. Personally I use the 1 minute timing, and that's one of the first options I change anytime I have a new Word version.

I don't remember Word 2004 I must say, but I feel like Word 2011 is far more reliable and intuitive than Word 2008, which was really awful in my view.
I installed 2008 on 3 or 4 laptops throughout the years and on each of them (mostly powerful MPBs) it would take ages to launch, then crash once per day at the very minimum...

I only have the trial version of 2011 though, and I've been using it since a couple of weeks, I may be less optimistic within a few weeks...


Yes, I'm backing up now, as frequently as possible, and am patiently going through the whole translation again (but making small improvements to it so that I get some gratification). But I'm doing the translation "off piste" now using a combination of other applications and then copy/pasting chunks of finished translation into the master file (and immediately backing it up).

Yes, I've heard that Word 2008 was a turkey. I've never used it and thought I was falling behind, so invested in Office 2011.

So the big new features of Word 2011 are: it doesn't crash any more but it will seduce you into trusting it and then, without warning, will destroy your work !

Enjoy !

[Edited at 2011-02-20 12:45 GMT]


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:37
Member
French to English
+ ...
Slightly off-topic, but... Feb 20, 2011

I have had a slightly similar problem usinf Word 2003 under Windows XP on PC.

I had a large document containing lots of formatting, styles, and images; in places, there were in-segment font changes (wrought havoc with trying to use CAT!), using a symbol-type font to generate special characters.

Periodically as I worked, the text would get corrupted, with the 'normal' font changing to the 'symbol' font — BUT when I changed it manually back to the 'normal' font, all I got was a load of 'no character' rectangles! There was nothing I could do to bring back my text, so i had to start over, and the segments involved remained consistently unstable throughout the document.

I never did get to the bottom of the problem, but luckily it only seemed to affect that particular document.

And frequent backing up wasn't really viable, as the document was SO big, it took ages each time. Not only that, but the problem tended to occur when re-opening the file, so even if it was OK when saved, it corrupted next time it was opened!

At the time, it was a real nightmare!

I only mention this, because it seems to be a quirk in Word...


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Not off-topic Feb 20, 2011

Tony M wrote:

.... in-segment font changes ....using a symbol-type font to generate special characters.

Periodically as I worked, the text would get corrupted......all I got was a load of 'no character' rectangles.......There was nothing I could do to bring back my text.....remained consistently unstable ......it only seemed to affect that particular document.....the problem tended to occur when re-opening the file, so even if it was OK when saved, it corrupted next time ......a real nightmare......seems to be a quirk in Word...


Hi Tony - you're not off-topic at all- what you say is very pertinent and seems almost identical to what I experienced.

In my case the author inserted a number of text boxes containing mathematical equations, some of which include "illicit" special characters.

In Word 2004 I get a message saying I don't have enough disk space to save these boxes (which is of course the wrong message. I have lots of disk space) and they display as empty white rectangles.

In Word 2011 they display, but the cost of having them display seems to be that Word 2011 will put up with them for a while until I have made so many changes to the file that it just trashes the entire contents of the document.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:37
French to German
+ ...
The best of British to you, Tom! Feb 20, 2011

Now that Tony mentions it, I can too remember that the "character contamination" was an issue with Word since times immemorial.
Those who have used Word with Trados or Wordfast may also remember that every now and then, the much dreaded and ugly MS Minchu reared its nasty head in the middle of a document, with no apparent reason at all.
I guess this contamination could become a nightmare when dealing with symbols or formulas.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Oh no, not the dreaded MS Minchu Feb 20, 2011

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

Now that Tony mentions it, I can too remember that the "character contamination" was an issue with Word since times immemorial.
Those who have used Word with Trados or Wordfast may also remember that every now and then, the much dreaded and ugly MS Minchu reared its nasty head in the middle of a document, with no apparent reason at all.
I guess this contamination could become a nightmare when dealing with symbols or formulas.


This is beginning to sound like a Dracula movie....anything can happen, without warning....anyway it's very useful to hear that others have found themselves wrestling with similar awful creatures that lurk in the dungeons of MS Office.

So thanks Laurent, for the British luck, but I'm Irish!

I'm about halfway through the translation again, and still one day behind.....



[Edited at 2011-02-20 18:18 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:37
French to German
+ ...
Then... Feb 20, 2011

Tom in London wrote:

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

(.../...)

So thanks Laurent, for the British luck, but I'm Irish!

I'm about halfway through the translation again, and still one day behind.....


go n-éirí leat!

[Edited at 2011-02-20 18:37 GMT]


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Ioanna Orfanoudaki  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 08:37
French to Greek
+ ...
My sympathy Mar 15, 2011

I had a very unpleasant experience with Word for Mac 2011 yesterday, I hadn't had the chance to play much with it until I started working on a job.
As I needed to copy some parts from reference material, I used the standard Cmd+V into my file, only to realise (after trying several times) that it didn't work. It seems that Cmd+C and Cmd+V shortcuts are no longer valid in Word 2011 and they're replaced by F3 and F4 respectively. The fact that I had used the older shortcuts a few times made the application crash... I ended up using Cmd+C in my reference material and F4 in Word to get the job done... until my typing started getting replaced by squares and tabs (cursor was sent a few spaces away every time I typed....)... I'm not sure whether the use of both Greek and Latin characters in the same file had anything to do with it, but if that is the source of the crashes, and since I translate into Greek, I won't be able to use Word 2011 until MS fixes it.
Anyway, I was very pleased to have listened to Tom's advice and saved very often, and was also pleased to have kept my good old Word 2004, which, to be honest, hasn't failed me for a long time...


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Mar 15, 2011

Ioanna Orfanoudaki wrote:

I had a very unpleasant experience with Word for Mac 2011 yesterday, I hadn't had the chance to play much with it until I started working on a job.
As I needed to copy some parts from reference material, I used the standard Cmd+V into my file, only to realise (after trying several times) that it didn't work. It seems that Cmd+C and Cmd+V shortcuts are no longer valid in Word 2011 and they're replaced by F3 and F4 respectively. The fact that I had used the older shortcuts a few times made the application crash... I ended up using Cmd+C in my reference material and F4 in Word to get the job done... until my typing started getting replaced by squares and tabs (cursor was sent a few spaces away every time I typed....)... I'm not sure whether the use of both Greek and Latin characters in the same file had anything to do with it, but if that is the source of the crashes, and since I translate into Greek, I won't be able to use Word 2011 until MS fixes it.
Anyway, I was very pleased to have listened to Tom's advice and saved very often, and was also pleased to have kept my good old Word 2004, which, to be honest, hasn't failed me for a long time...


Thanks for this new warning, Ioanna. I strongly suggest you report this behaviour to Microsoft. It is absurd that Word for Mac doesn't respect standard Mac keyboard commands.

BTW according to what I've read on Word for Mac discussion forums, saving a Word file often actually makes it more likely to crash !!

I am still relying on Word 2004, but when Mac OS Lion comes out later this year, it won't run on the Mac OS any more.

So the sooner we get these glitches resolved, the better. THe only way to do that is to sign up to the Office for Mac discussion forums and report these issues.

Another way round many of these problems is to use Apple Pages and then export the file to MSWord.

However Pages isn't very good at handling tables, illustrations, charts etc. created in MSWord. Nevertheless, body text can be copy/pasted into Pages, translated there, and then pasted back into the MSWord file.

[Edited at 2011-03-15 10:17 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:37
French to German
+ ...
Reasons not to buy MSO:mac 2011 Mar 15, 2011

I would have no other reason than the comeback of VBA support in MSO:mac 2011 to buy it.

Now that I have browsed my way through some websites and read Tom's and Ionna's warnings, this reason becomes weaker and weaker - in fact, these are reasons not to buy the software package discussed here.

As per the VBA support in Word:mac 2011 (for WordFast Classic), I still can use Writer together with Anaphraseus, even if this combination is not perfect. Another option would be cloud computing with WordFast Anywhere.

Honestly and since I use an iMac to process translation jobs, Word for Mac comes only in handy when I need to do some formatting. I can forget it the rest of the time.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
But.. Mar 15, 2011

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

I would have no other reason than the comeback of VBA support in MSO:mac 2011 to buy it.

Now that I have browsed my way through some websites and read Tom's and Ionna's warnings, this reason becomes weaker and weaker - in fact, these are reasons not to buy the software package discussed here.

As per the VBA support in Word:mac 2011 (for WordFast Classic), I still can use Writer together with Anaphraseus, even if this combination is not perfect. Another option would be cloud computing with WordFast Anywhere.

Honestly and since I use an iMac to process translation jobs, Word for Mac comes only in handy when I need to do some formatting. I can forget it the rest of the time.


But if your client delivers a job to you as an MSOffice file, you have to deliver the job back to them in the same format.


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