Conflicting error message formats from SQL Server 2000

On exceptions to SQL errors a development server upgraded from SQL
Server 7 to SQL Server 2000 provides sensible error messeges such as
"A string would be truncated".  The production server with a clean
install of SQL Server 2000 provides OLE error messages with a hex

As I'm trying to translate the error messages into a
customer-specified report format it makes development difficult if I
can't test against an environment compatible with the target
deployment environment.

Can anyone offer a solution?