When I import a text from Word to Indesign I format all italics manually as styles, which is rather tedious, as otherwise Indesign does not recognise them. I have however just received a text from a professional translator where the italics are recognised by Indesign without them being set as styles in Word or Indesign. Does anyone know why this is?
Best practice is to use a paragraph style, and if you need an italic somewhere within, to use a character style, which it seems you understand. It's been a while since I've had to regularly import Word files, as I remember it the problem wasn't that the italics were set locally (rather than with character styles), but instead that the person used faux italic in Word with a font that didn't have an italic version. I could be wrong, but I think that if you locally set italics in Word by using an actual italic font, you can still retain those italics when imported into InDesign, although if you want maximum control, you should create an italic character style in InDesign and go through the text and apply it over the local italic.
Thanks for your reply, I wasn't sure what I was missing but I think you are right, it is an issue with using faux italics. As you say, although it is time consuming, using styles can turn out to be useful in some instances.