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Multi-language deployments of Microsoft CRM

Microsoft CRM expert Richard Smith discusses Microsoft CRM's multi-language capabilities in this expert response.

Can Microsoft Dynamics CRM be deployed in a global environment with multiple languages? Is this included in the scope of Microsoft CRM 4.0?
Microsoft has been committed to supporting Dynamics CRM customer's need for multiple languages. Microsoft CRM 3.0 supported over 20 languages, however, all of the clients in any one specific environment had to be on the same language. This meant, for example, that you could have an English deployment and a Spanish deployment, but you could not have users with English and Spanish deployments in the same deployment.

Microsoft CRM 4.0 addresses multi-language implementations within the same deployment. Microsoft has introduced language packs that will allow individual users to set the base language of the CRM client (either Web or Outlook), enabling users in the same deployment to use the client in their own language. The product also allows individual organizations to create their own translations for custom entities, fields and field labels, etc., as they enhance and customize their Microsoft CRM implementation. Many global customers of CRM are excited about this new functionality, as it will make it possible to centralize multiple global offices with multiple languages on a single CRM architecture. Initially, Microsoft has released language packs in English, German and Spanish, with other languages to be released over the next several months.

There are two key concepts to keep in mind regarding multiple languages in Microsoft CRM. First, while the language packs provide translations of labels and messages and help within the application, they do not provide "on the fly" translation of notes and other content that is entered in a foreign language. For example, if a support case is entered in French, any case notes entered by the support representative will be in French and will not be translated to English for an English user. The same is true for related information stored in CRM, including sales literature, document attachments and knowledgebase articles. Second, larger implementations will benefit from a distributed CRM implementation, with a single database but multiple regional application servers. Recommended implementation typologies for larger implementations are available from Microsoft in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Implementation Guide.

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