Translate M3 with Google Translate API

Here is a solution to automatically translate M3 and user-generated content in 52 languages.

For that, I will use the Google Translate API and a Personalized Script for Lawson Smart Office.

Business advantage

This solution is interesting to translate content that is generated by users, such as:

  • Bill of Materials
  • Work Orders
  • Service Orders
  • Customer Order Notes
  • etc.

Such content is entered in the user’s language and by design is not translated by Lawson Smart Office.

Also, this solution is interesting to translate M3 itself beyond the number of languages that Lawson makes available.

Lawson Smart Office

Lawson Smart Office supports 18 languages: Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English, Spanish, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, and Chinese:

It’s a high number of languages given that text is manually translated by professional translators which are probably paid by the word.

The quality is near perfect.

But by design, the user-generated content is not translated.

Google Translate

Google Translate supports 52 languages: Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welsh, and Yiddish.

It’s a very high number of languages because it uses machine learning and statistical analysis for automatic machine translation of millions of web pages and of official translations done by governments and by international organizations.

It is one of the best machine translations available, considered state of the art, and the quality is improving constantly. [1] [2] [3].

Google is even working on recognizing handwritten text, and text in images.

But even though the quality is good it’s not yet accurate.

It may not be accurate enough in a professional context to translate user-generated content in M3 with the Google Translate API.

But it still gives the user a general idea of the meaning of the text.

And as a pedagogical tool, it serves the purpose of illustrating how to write scripts for Smart Office, and how to integrate M3 to external systems.

Hello World!

To use the Google Translate API you need to register and obtain a key. It is a paid service that will translate one million characters of text for $20.

Once you obtain your key, you need to construct a URL with your API key, the text to translate, and the source and target languages.

Here is a sample URL that translates the text Hello World! from English (en) to French (fr):!&source=en&target=fr

The result is a JSON object like this:

 "data": {
  "translations": [
    "translatedText": "Bonjour tout le monde!"

First script

Then write a Personalized Script for Lawson Smart Office using the Script Tool.

The script will submit the HTTP GET Request to the Google Translate API over HTTPS and will parse the JSON response.

function translate(text: String, source, target) {
     var url = '' + source + '&target=' + target + '&q=' + HttpUtility.UrlEncode(text);
     var request = HttpWebRequest(WebRequest.Create(url));
     var response = HttpWebResponse(request.GetResponse());
     var jsonText = (new StreamReader(response.GetResponseStream())).ReadToEnd();
     var o = eval('(' + jsonText + ')''unsafe');

We can now use this function to translate any piece of user-generated content, for example the Customer Name in CRS610/E (WRCUNM):

var WRCUNM = ScriptUtil.FindChild(controller.RenderEngine.Content, 'WRCUNM');
WRCUNM.Text = translate(WRCUNM.Text, 'en''fr');

Also, we can translate several pieces of text at once by appending as many q parameters to the URL as pieces of text.


With this technique, we can translate all the Controls of our Panel, including the user-generated content: Label, TextBox, Button, ListView, GridViewColumnHeader, ListRow, etc. That will cover Panels A, B, E, F, etc.

Also, we will need to submit the HTTP Request in a background thread to avoid blocking the user interface.

Complete Script

Here is the complete source code of my script that translates all the content of any M3 program, any panel.


Replace the constant YOUR_API_KEY of the source code with your own Google Translate API key.

The script has a limit GOOGLE_MAX_TEXT_SEGMENTS which was applicable when I wrote the script back in March 2010, but Google has since removed the limit so you can remove it from the script as well.

Then deploy the script on each program and each panel that you’d like to translate. The deployment can probably be automated with some custom XML and XSLT.


Here is an animation of the M3 program Work Order – MOS100/B1 with buttons for seven languages. Click on the image to see the animation. Note how the user-generated content in the rightmost column of the list is also being translated.

Future Work

A future implementation should also translate menus, drop down lists, and text panels (T). I still haven’t been able to execute scripts in a T panel.

That’s it!



UPDATE 2012-08-02: Just fixed the line breaks at line 280 which the copy/paste had corrupted + fixed GetType().ToString() + fixed Exception handling in BackgroundWorker.

UPDATE 2012-08-03, Martin Trydal Torp & Thibaud: Adapted listView for newer LSO (new: listView.ItemsSource; old: listView.Items) + change sourceLanguage dynamically

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ex- M3 Technical Consultant

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