Improved Language Support for Spanish and Adding Vietnamese

Shodan/ Ottobre 11, 2018/ Steam

We wanted to give you a heads up about some exciting language options coming to Steam.

Starting today, we are adding two new languages (Vietnamese and Latin American Spanish) to the list of 26 languages officially supported by Steam. This means the Steam desktop client, the Steam store, and the Steam Community, are all translated to make it easier for Vietnamese or Latin American Spanish speakers to interact with Steam, find games, and chat with friends. It also means that game developers can now provide translations of their game in those languages through Steam.

Why Vietnamese?

Vietnamese is the sole national language of the country Vietnam, but is also widely used in other countries, including the United States, Australia, and France. There are over 75 million Vietnamese speakers worldwide. In November of 2017, we added Steam support for the national currency of Vietnam, the Vietnamese Dong, along with a number of payment methods that make it easier for players in Vietnam to make purchases on Steam. While supporting payments methods and currencies is important for making Steam accessible to global audiences, we realized our mistake in not also supporting the national language too so that players can more easily find their way around Steam and be able to get games in their native language, when available.

Why Latin American Spanish?

In the past, Steam has only supported a single definition of Spanish-language. But our customers and game developers have been reminding us of the stylistic differences among Spanish spoken in different locales, and requested that Steam support that difference. As a result, we now have a definition of both Castilian (European) Spanish and Latin American (LatAm) Spanish, translating the Steam desktop client, store, and community into both variants of Spanish.

As a practical example, this is how we already treat Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, where customers can choose one, the other, or both for their language preferences, and game developers can indicate whichever variants their game supports.

Changing Your Language Preferences in Steam

Whether your native language is Vietnamese, Castilian Spanish, or any of the 26 other languages supported by Steam, you can specify your language preferences in the Steam desktop client by clicking “Steam>settings>interface”.

Additionally, you can specify more than one language within the Steam store to help you find more games available in languages you may speak. For example, you may want to run Steam in Vietnamese, but you also speak English and want to make sure you can find games that are available with English language audio. You can visit your store preferences to select multiple languages for games that you wish to discover in the Steam store.

FAQ for Game Developers

Language support can be pretty important for the enjoyment of games. If you are making a game on Steam, here are some questions we thought you might have and some answers. Of course if you have additional question, please let us know through the Steamworks contact form.

Q: What do I need to do if my game already supports Spanish?
A: If you want to add another language support option, you can provide Spanish support in both Castilian and Latin American varieties. If you don’t plan to add additional support, that’s OK: Steam will assume that your existing Spanish language content is Castilian and automatically provide that content to customers that have indicated either Castilian or Latin American Spanish. If your existing translation is actually Latin American Spanish, you can update your definition within Steamworks by visiting your app landing page and clicking “Edit Steamworks Settings” and selecting “Depots” from the “SteamPipe” drop-down.

For more information on translating your game into different languages, and a list of supported languages, please see https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/store/localization

Q: What if my game doesn’t support Spanish at all?
A: That’s okay, and you don’t need to make any changes. But just so you know: nearly 2 million of our 45 million daily active users view the store in Spanish, and platform revenue in Latin America increased 35% over the previous year… so now might be a good time to consider adding support!

Q: What’s the difference, anyway? Why does this matter?
A: There are some substantial differences in vocabulary and colloquial choices between these two varieties of Spanish. By supporting the difference on the Steam store and UI, we can make it more welcoming and easy to use. By supporting the difference in your game, you can provide the best possible experience to any customers who want to play your game in Spanish. Historically, customer improvements to localization and regional support have helped grow the overall pie of platform opportunity for developers, and we think this will be one more improvement for people who play and make PC games.

Q: Do I get any benefit if my game supports additional languages on Steam?
A: Definitely! In addition to making your game more accessible to more customers, language preference is one of the things the store takes into account when making recommendations. That means a customer is more likely to see your game in the store if it supports the language preferences the customer selected. For example, Vietnamese is the fifth most spoken language in the United States, at around 1.5 million speakers.

Q: Where can I learn more about adding language support?
A: We’re so glad you asked! The documentation here provides a rundown on localization, and some best practices and advice. https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/store/localization

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