Thought-Provoking Commentary for the Lawson Software Community
Se Habla . . . Lawson?
January 28, 2006Posted by on
It’s a question I get periodically. What are the languages (i.e. Spanish, German, French etc) that Lawson supports? How does it work? For the clients who are (or perhaps are just considering) expanding internationally, one of the basic requirements is that their ERP package support it. Oftentimes, however, this is an afterthought. Only after the big expansion plans have been unveiled does it fall to the IT infrastructure to implement and support it. So, here’s a quick overview of how Lawson supports (and in some ways, doesn’t support) multiple languages, known in the industry as “ERP Localization”.
First the good news: Lawson supports a few languages, in addition to English, when displaying screens and generating reports. This includes field labels, help text, and the like. What Lawson doesn’t not support is the ability to store multiple versions of language-specific data. In the database, what you key in (or more specifically, what language it is typed in), is what gets stored in the database. In other words, if you type in an item description on IC11 in English, when a Singapore-based user sees it, it’s displayed in English. While the field labels are translated as they are rendered, the data itself does not.
There are a couple of exceptions (for example, Dunning Letters can have language translations by keying in multiple versions of language-specific text on AR19). But for the most part, the rule is: language in-language out.
This may or may not be a showstopper. If you operate in multiple countries, and can geographically separate the duties (i.e. language-specific Companies, Activity Groups, etc.), you’ll probably do just fine. The users will see their language-specific field labels, and can type in their data in whatever language they choose, as long as Lawson (and your underlying database) supports it.
So, what languages does Lawson support? For 8.0 Applications, Lawson provides translation files for the following languages:
- French Canadian
- Latin Spanish
However, for 8.1 Applications, the list is a bit shorter:
- French Canadian
- Latin Spanish
As for why Lawson supports fewer languages with 8.1 applications, I have not been able to get a reasonable answer. Here’s the official support response I received:
- There are no plans to support Italian. You would need to make a request to your client manager for the additional language to have it reviewed. This would not guarantee an Italian language file would be created, but it would be a starting point.
However, I have found that loading the 8.0 translations will work OK with the 8.1 applications, although you will need to manually add some phrase translations.
Even so, it’s still a pretty short list, since the Lawson architecture does not support double-byte languages (i.e. Kanji, Hansa, Arabic, etc.). This, of course, is rumored to be included in the future, as part of the Landmark initiatives.
So, if your language is in the above list, here’s how to get started:
Download the language translation files (and a short document on installing them) from the Product Downloads section on Lawson’s support site, and use the ldlang utility to install it:
– Use the locdef utility to create a locale in the Environment and assign the language to the locale
Use laua to assign the locale to desired users:
Users can also set their locale from the Portal’s User Options form:
As Lawson applications are compiled; phrases on screens and reports are stored in the GEN table PHRASE & PHRASEUSE. Translations are stored in GEN table PHRASEXLT. – You can use the langdef utility to make any manual translations.
In addition, the Lawson forms are compiled into language-specific files, called “tranmaps”. When you first install a new language, you’ll need to use the genformap utility to generate tranmaps for all of the forms in your product line(s). As forms are re-compiled, they will be updated automatically.
Once the phrase files and tranmaps are built, when the screens/reports are rendered, translations are done based on the language for the user’s locale. Here’s a sample from LID:
Pre-rendered (.xml) Portal screen files (i.e. tranmaps generated by xscrgen) are stored in $LAWDIR/
/map/ which are loaded by Portal users:
As you can see, Lawson does take care of a lot of the localization requirements for displaying forms and generating reports. While we’re on the subject of globalization, I’ll answer the other question I always get: “Can we pay our employees in…?” Sure, as long as your list is limited to the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. While Lawson does a pretty good job on currency translation for most of your financial transactions, and you can certainly pay employees in the currency of your choice, Lawson won’t be able to calculate their taxes nor adhere to local wages laws. For that, you’ll be better off choosing a payroll service, and interfacing the transactions back into the Lawson Financials