This guide explains how languages are supported across Steam. Steam is a global platform with official support for 28 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.
Managing Store Page Translation
Steam allows you to localize your store page content, including written description, 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.
Managing In-game Translation
You can also tell customers what language your product supports in-game. There are options for Subtitles, Interface, or Full Audio for each language.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
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 Application Names
In the General Application Settings of the Steamworks Settings section for your app, you can enter localized names for your product. Setting a localized name for a language will cause that name to display to customers who run Steam in that language.
If you set localized names in the Steamworks Settings section, this will override any name set in the Store Page section for that language, so that the localized name shown on the Store page will always match the localized name the customer sees in the library.
The localized name will be used for search suggestions for customers in that language. The base (non-localized) name will also be used as a fallback for search suggestions. Additionally, some legacy applications and APIs may not be language-aware and will show the fallback name.
Package Names can be localized as well. Select the package you would like to add a localized name to, click edit package name, then add localized name.Note:
localizing your game name is subject to the same limitations as changing your game name. Please see: Changing Your Game's Name
for more information.
Localized Community Announcements
Announcements posted to your Community Hub and Store page can also be localized.
See the Localization section of the Steam Events and Announcements tool
for more information.
- 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.
For a full list of supported languages and their associated API language code, please see Languages Supported on Steam
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.