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Steamworks Documentation
Localization and Languages

Overview

This guide explains how languages are supported across Steam. Steam is a global platform with official support for 26 languages across many platform features. Supporting as many languages, currencies and payment methods as possible enables Steam to provide the best experience possible to customers around the world. Over 60% of Steam users use it in a language other than English, so tailoring your experience for those users is important.

Types of localization

Steam supports two separate types of localization - store page and in-game. You can use either independently of each other, but supporting both is ideal.

Store Page

Steam allows you to fully localize all your store page assets, including copy, images, and trailers. You can enter in copy for multiple languages by clicking the language drop down in the top right of any text editor inside the Steamworks partner portal.

In-game

You can also tell customers what language your product supports in-game. There are options for Subtitles, Interface, or Full Audio for each language.

ingame.PNG
Example of in-game language options on Steam

If a game supports multiple languages, but the language specific content is small, it isn't necessary to break the content into distinct depots. The game can instead use a single depot, and ask Steam for the language that the user has selected by using the ISteamApps::GetCurrentGameLanguage API. This will return one of the API language codes listed in supported languages. You must set the base languages that your game supports. You can do that on your Manage Depots page.

On the other hand, if your product has a large amount of language specific data, then it's recommended that you store that data in separate language specific depots. One additional depot per language. This way Steam will only deliver the content specific to the language the user is running. See Uploading to Steam for more details on how to build language specific Steam depots.

Localized Community Announcements

Announcements posted to your Community Hub and Store page can also be localized.
Protip: Use the "hidden" checkbox to enable multiple people to work on different languages of a post simultaneously. When all the languages are ready, uncheck the box to show the announcement and all languages simultaneously.

Best Practices

  • Prioritize Your Localization Plan - You shouldn't feel the need to localize for every language, nor will every language see the same return on investment. Look at your store page traffic, sales, and community feedback to help you make a plan. For an idea of language usage across the whole Steam user base, check out the latest Steam Hardware survey and select the 'language' row to expand for details.
  • Release additional languages as an update. Use the Community Announcements and Update Visibility Round tools to let customers know about your new content. You may also consider running a sale if the update is significant enough.
  • The less a language looks like English, the higher the expected return. Many customers in Asian territories for example do not speak English, while many customers in European countries do.
  • Steam favors products that are localized. Language support is determined by the in-game language settings, not the store page (though if your product is localized, you should consider localizing your store page as well).
  • Don't confuse language with geography - Customers on Steam speak different languages and their preferences vary independently of their geographic location. Additionally, if you have additional languages for your product, you should make them available for your entire customer base, not just customers in a specific region.

Achievement Language Support

You can localize some of your application's achievement names and descriptions. When you query an achievement string through the API, Steam will return the localized information based on the in game language the user has selected. You can set up your achievement localization data in the Achievement Localization section of the App Admin panel.

Gold Master Language Support

The Gold Master tool can customize the self installing package to the user language. See the Gold Master Localization documentation for details.

Supported Languages

These are the languages supported on Steam.
English Name Native Name API language code Web API language code
Arabic العربية arabic ar
Bulgarian български език bulgarian bg
Chinese (Simplified) 简体中文 schinese zh-CN
Chinese (Traditional) 繁體中文 tchinese zh-TW
Czech čeština czech cs
Danish Dansk danish da
Dutch Nederlands dutch nl
English English english en
Finnish Suomi finnish fi
French Français french fr
German Deutsch german de
Greek Ελληνικά greek el
Hungarian Magyar hungarian hu
Italian Italiano italian it
Japanese 日本語 japanese ja
Korean 한국어 koreana ko
Norwegian Norsk norwegian no
Polish Polski polish pl
Portuguese Português portuguese pt
Portuguese-Brazil Português-Brasil brazilian pt-BR
Romanian Română romanian ro
Russian Русский russian ru
Spanish Español spanish es
Swedish Svenska swedish sv
Thai ไทย thai th
Turkish Türkçe turkish tr
Ukrainian Українська ukrainian uk
Note: API language codes are used with the clientside APIs in the Steamworks API and Web API language codes are used with the Steamworks Web API.

Working With Translation Vendors

There are many great translation companies around the world that specialize in translating gaming content. As you consider your options for who to work with for translating your game content, there are a few things to consider:
  • Determine your target languages - Some companies are known to focus or be strong with certain regions’ languages than others.
  • Compare price sheets to know how expensive services are.
  • See if you need both localization and localization QA . For example, if you want an unbiased sanity check, you can have one company do the localization and another company do the QA. Alternatively, if you have close communication with members of your community that speak other languages, you may be able to get feedback directly from your players. Think about whether you can set up a way for them to provide you that feedback once you start supporting other languages (eg. by setting up a specific sub-forum or other discussion area).
  • Consider how difficult your game will be to localize. Is it text heavy/lore heavy/easy to relate to globally? This can impact which translation vendor may be better suited for particular languages.
  • Ask for a deck or list of games that a vendor has worked on and ask them exactly what work they did on those games. Everyone will list their top clients, but might not specify if they did the game content, technical manuals, or even just marketing. Those are all pretty different things, so it’s up to you to follow up and get more information so that you can do more research on your own.