As you’re probably aware, Microsoft Word 2004 is a legacy program written for PowerPC Macs. As a test, I opened Word 2004 on my laptop that I had recently upgraded to Snow Leopard. I noticed very quickly that the program took what seemed to be a few minutes to display the standard Word menu. Apparently, launching Word 2004 for the first time under Snow Leopard was not an instantaneous process because the program had to configure itself to work with Rosetta — Apple software that translates PowerPC code so that the underlying program can be used on Intel Macs.
As a further test, I closed Word and then restarted the program. The second time around, Word 2004 opened without a noticeable delay.