You might have heard of a tool called the Microsoft Application Translator (MAT) from Microsoft which was announced in May 2004. The tool was never released but the idea was that it would localize a Windows executable on the fly. MAT consisted of an editable database of translations and an engine to intercept windows before they were displayed and change their text to a localized version. The benefit was that you didn’t need to have access to the application’s source in order to localize the application.
If this idea interests you then you might like to be aware of the WizArt product range
including WizTom For Windows
and WizTom For .NET
that deliver the same promise offerred by MAT. WizArt products suffer the same limitations as MAT including the fact that only the text is localizable - the application remains unaware in globalization terms (e.g. date/time, number and currency formats are unaffected). Naturally I would point out that there is no substitute for internationalizing software correctly from the ground up but if you don’t have access to the source then this is at least a partial solution.