I did it both ways. Dirty way is quick, but... dirty. Whan you face possibility that you can sell your system (40MB of source code) to Italy, but you need to translate it... you are happy later that they did not bought it.
And before that, another system designed to be multi-lingual from very beginning. It was pain start developing application by creating dictionary, and adding every stupid message as database entry. But translation was easy: Person knowing both accounting AND german translated our system into german in about two weeks. Compile it in new language environment, resolve some screen issues (some german words are much longer), and you are done! Piece of cake!
When thinking about multi-language system, you need to think also about translating abbreviations for codes. I.e. "BK" is excellent abbreviation for "Bankruptcy" in english, but not in italian. So your need to translate easy mnemonic status codes into other language, too. It is long way before settling on Standard Intragalactic Language...;-)
To make errors is human. But to make million errors per second, you need a computer.
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