Unicode and GTK

I am writing an app using gtk (gtkmm-1.2.5,gtk+-1.2.8 to be precise) which I want to make multilingual - namely the labels and buttons.  I have looked through many archives for hints on how to do this, and have understood the following (I think):
- unicode would be the best way to go since I am looking at using about 12 languages (I understand this as meaning UTF8 locales and fonts)
- if I set the shell loacle to a CJK (export LANG=ja_JP.UTF8 for example), and set the set_locale to true in the constructor for Gtk::Main, the labels should be interpreted as an array of 2 byte chars.
-as well as this I need to have glibc-2.2 or higher (1) for this interpretation to take place, and (2) to create the UTF8 locales (using localedef ...).
As a result I have been tyring to build and install glibc-2.2.2 and feel that I am in well over my head - I've only been using linux for a few months. 
Is there an easier way, or perhaps have I misunderstood the way to go about it?? 
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I am using Caldera OpenLinux 2.2 (kernel 2.2.5) with glibc-2.1-3.
Regards, Eric Openshaw.

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