Tools to Translate UI – a Quest

Little over a year ago we had the need to partly translate the UI of a huge solution from our sister company from German to Dutch. Due to time constraints and my not-up-to-date knowledge about translation tools I searched for the Navision Localization Workbench (NLW), found it on mibuso, and installed it on my machine.

NLW! You could clearly read the astonishment on our faces when we found out that this new UI translation tool was built on an Access database. In retrospect I would say: had MS already taken over Navision?


So NLW it was that I picked up again after all those years. I had used it a couple of times as part of some kind of upgrade training, I think. Had tested it on a some small sample application; a mice compared to the solution (100,000+ captions!) I was going to translate. Like Online Help it’s a task I like to do. Well … if the tool is not stopping you from doing it. After the challenge of getting all these German captions imported, the challenge of getting them translated on time was looming … as the tool crashed at least once every hour. It even crashed so badly I had to rebuild the database again. [8o|]

Luckily I had some kind of backup of my work so far.


Altogether I managed to finish my part on this translation and since then we had no need for any UI translation. But we certainly will in the 6 months to come, so I started to investigate the alternatives to NLW. One of my German colleagues informed me on the offering NAV partners had gotten from MS a couple of years ago to acquire the MS tool called LocStudio as successor to NLW. Unfortunately, as I found out, is was no longer available to partners. [:^)]

A very helpful ex-MS colleague did send me this list of 3rd party translation tools:

But they either were overkill, or to generic (i.e. not NAV aware), to expensive, to complex, … To us a dead-end street.

Translation Tool and Object Manager

In the mean time, luckily, I had come across two tools, build on/in NAV: Translation Tool (To-Increase) and Object Manager (IDYN). Both worthwhile: easy to use and stable, and of course: nothing feels like home. [;)]

Both part of a bigger suite of tools. At the time of writing this I could not get hold on prices for both, but if I am right it does not differ too much. So which to take? I think it is personal preference. And yes: I have mine. [H]


I always wondered why NLW was called this way: Navision Localization Workbench. I mean Navision and Workbench was clear cut, but Localization. Localizing software was what we did at the Navision NTR – i.e. the local Navision offices. Adjust the software to local market and legal requirements. NLW was clearly not doing that. Why wasn’t it called NTW?

Later we stumbled across the same issue when we ‘joined’ MS and formed the GDL team: Global Localization Development. Here we continued the localization work that used to be done at the Navision NTRs. I know our GDL management had a real hard time to justify the founding of this GDL team. Redmond MS management seemed not to understand why next to the CLOC team in Ireland, that was taking care of the translation of MS products, another team had to be formed to handle of the localization (read: translation) of Business Solutions products specifically. It took almost 1 year before they started to understand the need for it. (BTW: CLOC was the abbreviation for: Content LOCalization and IMHO was only about translations)

One Comment

  1. Hi Erik, and your question is now already a year old. Hadn't noticed. I don't seem to get any alert mails anymore when comments are given to my posts.

    Short answer: none. The last couple of years I am working at a end-user not doing this kind of things. However I did play around with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 – Translation Service:…/MSDYNERPTranslationSolution. It wasn't perfect but also not too bad.

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