I remember my dad using a small utility on windows, around the year 2000, which would translate everything on a screen from language to another - the desktop, the window frames, titles, menus and even text inside a strategy game. I unfortunately do not remember what it was called, but it was in the shape of a bar, which was about 150x25 pixels and had some buttons. He was running win95 or 98 at that time, and the program would cause the screen to blink when switching between languages.
I'm guessing it might have simply switched the locale, and force applications to redraw themselves in the new locale, whereas the language support is either built into each single application or in a systemwide database. I thought there must be equivalent or similar things in windows systems that do the work of LANGUAGE LANG and LC_* in unices, but don't know the mechanisms if they should exist.
Or maybe it was the other option, that this program actually translated everything, word to word, by hooking some system functions like a LD_PRELOAD, when things are being displayed on screen. Or even by modifying every string literal in the memory.
I now have some curiosity of this ancient program, what was its name? Is it still availible? Or if there are clones or alternatives having such features?
I find some programs can do full screen translations today, one is 金山快译, another is 朗道. both are dictionary applications. 朗道 is also bar shaped, but not the same as the one i was talking about.