[Updated] Tabletop Simulator Update Adds Google Translate Language Support

Tabletop Simulator's new language update, which provides support for 29 different languages, is undermined by its reliance on Google Translate.

Published: January 30, 2021 3:38 PM /


Some pieces and cards in Tabletop Simulator.

Update 2/2/2021 2:55 PM: Tabletop Simulator's Twitter posted an official announcement responding to criticisms of their translation update. They explain that they used Google Translate because it was the "only feasible solution" to provide support for 29 different languages. The developers have also updated the Steam store page so it no longer says it supports languages other than English. Finally, they hope to feature the best community translations so users can easily find them in the future. 

They do not address why they had to do all 29 options or none for translation.

The original story follows below.

A Tabletop Simulator update has been announced that it has added language support for 29 different languages. However, this announcement is undermined by the fact that these translations are done via Google Translate. This awkward translation means non-English players will see such goofs as lead designer Jason Henry being the metal, as opposed to the head of something.

Anyone who uses Google Translate a lot can likely tell you that quite a bit gets lost in translation when using it, and Tabletop Simulator is no different. Two of the main sources of mistranslations come from tweets by game localization expert @loekalization, translation student @dwimepon, and their comments. As well as text going out of the original boxes, there are instances of text like "hints & tips" turning into "hints and hints." Anyone looking to play the Japanese board game Go will find it also got lost in translation. In the French and German languages, the game is still called Go, but the word that pops up is the verb version of "go." Even Rami Ismail of Vlambeer fame chimed in to point out that Tabletop Simulator renders the Arabic language backward.

Since it's obvious that a Google Translate translation won't hold up compared to a professional translation, the update announcement says that "recognizing google translate’s limitations we are also excited to see what native speakers in the community can come up with for the most authentic multilingual game play experience." Unfortunately, this means that the job of providing a good translation falls onto the community. While modders may provide proper translations, they'll be doing the work to fix a half-baked translation job, especially for something that really needs a professional job to set standards for various mods to follow when putting games in different languages on the workshop.

Tabletop Simulator is available for PC on Steam and Humble Bundle.

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I am a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a major in writing and a minor in gaming. I have a passion for video games and writing. I also… More about Brian