Japanese support has issues #415

Sinihopea opened this Issue Dec 26, 2012 · 13 comments

6 participants



So tonight I started wondering why the Steam on GNU/Linux shows those square boxes when you're receiving a message written in Japanese. I try to keep this short.

I first suspected that my system is lacking a some kind of font family or compatible font family which Steam requires. Even after installing whole punch of Japanese fonts and font-families (including the fonts from the Microsoft Windows itself, both the MSCoreFonts and the Fonts folder from MS-Windows) into the Ubuntu and doing "fc-cache -f -v" and other steps required to make fonts accessible to the system, the situation however didn't improve.

Then I went and changed the whole Steam to use the Japanese language from the Steam's settings. And whole UI was practically just those small boxes. Then I decided to make something different, and I installed a whole Japanese language support into my system. That didn't improve the situation. I tried to logout and login to see if that changes the situation but nothing happened.

So as a next step I changed my whole system locale into Japanese by setting LANG="ja_JP.UTF-8" and FC_ALL="ja_JP.UTF-8". I rebooted the system and started the Steam. And boom! There it was, Steam in Japanese.

However Steam still doesn't show all the UI strings in understandable characters. Some of the UI parts are those small boxes which is probably due missing compatible font. This is the current situation with the Steam's ability to display Japanese characters. But there's more to it...

If you'd like to write Japanese into the Steam's chat window for example... probable depending on what input method you're using it either works or doesn't work. I'm using Anthy and IBus and their combination doesn't work. Steam refuses to accept character input from iBus.

However if I write the message into the GVim or GEdit for example, and then cut/copy and paste it into the Steam's chat window I can submit the message, and apparently people can see it on the other end. I can also see the messages which people on the other end submit. Which is a huge improvement now, for me at least.

There's also something weird going on when you paste the Japanese characters into the Steam's chat window. If you enter any Latin/Roman characters into the chat window the pasted Japanese characters will turn into those boxes. If you remove the Latin characters you typed in the Japanese characters become visible again. I was once able to type Latin characters into the chat window, and then pasting the Japanese message and make it visible in the input box element. However when I submitted that message the message window showed the Japanese characters as boxes.

Steam's logs don't show anything unusual errors or warnings about missing font or locale. I suspect this might be GTK+ related bug in Steam. This might be related to the issues #23 and #332 which are pretty close to this issue.

Screenshot_from_2012-12-27 00:40:47

Steps to reproduce

On any system change Steam's language to Japanese, and look into for example Steam's chat window's UI text strings, incoming messages, Steam's UI in general, and nicknames of the people.

System Information

Note that I changed Steam's language to English so that the System Information would be in English. I thought that you guys might appreciate it more than the System Information in Japanese language.

Processor Information:
    Vendor:  AuthenticAMD
    Speed: 2202 Mhz
    1 logical processor
    0 physical processor
    HyperThreading:  Supported
    FCMOV:  Supported
    SSE2:  Supported
    SSE3:  Unsupported
    SSSE3:  Unsupported
    SSE4a:  Unsupported
    SSE41:  Unsupported
    SSE42:  Unsupported

Network Information:
    Network Speed:  

Operating System Version:
    Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS (32 bit)
    Kernel Name:  Linux
    Kernel Version:  3.2.0-35-generic
    X Server vendor:  The X.Org Foundation
    X Server release:  11103000

Video Card:
    Driver:  NVIDIA Corporation GeForce 7600 GS/AGP/SSE2/3DNOW!

    Driver Version:  2.1.2 NVIDIA 304.48
    Desktop Color Depth: 24 bits per pixel
    Monitor Refresh Rate: 84 Hz
    VendorID:  0x10de
    DeviceID:  0x392
    Number of Monitors:  1
    Number of Logical Video Cards:  1
    Primary Display Resolution:  1024 x 768
    Desktop Resolution: 1024 x 768
    Primary Display Size: 12.28" x 9.21"  (15.35" diag)
                                            31.2cm x 23.4cm  (39.0cm diag)
    Primary Bus: AGP 8x
    Primary VRAM Not Detected
    Supported MSAA Modes:  2x 4x 8x 16x 

Sound card:
    Audio device: Realtek ALC850 rev 0

    RAM:  3025 Mb

    UI Language:  English
    LANG:  ja_JP.UTF-8
    Microphone:  Not set
    Total Hard Disk Space Available:  75094 Mb
    Largest Free Hard Disk Block:  4405 Mb

Installed software:

Recent Failure Reports:

I think this was at least most of the things I encountered tonight. =)

@gdrewb-valve gdrewb-valve was assigned Dec 26, 2012

I'd like to add that similar or the same issues (to the Japanese language support) are also plagued by...

  • Korean language support
  • Traditional Chinese language support
  • Simplified Chinese language support
  • Thai language support

Here's an example screenshot of Steam in Korean language... [It's the same for all the languages mentioned above, if system locale isn't set to that particular language.]

Kuvakaappaus 2012-12-27 13:31:04

I've installed the Korean language support and all the packages and set the system to be able to read and write Korean script but the Steam isn't compatible with required Gnome frameworks despite of GTK+. If I don't change the whole system locale into Japanese or Korean I am not able to see their respective scripts in Steam's UI, or read incoming messages, and write back messages. It's going to be just those small boxes.


Changing the Steam language will only have partial effects, this is expected. For full functionality you'll need to change your system locale.

The next client release will have some improvements in CJK font handling, assuming you have that WenQuanYi Zen Hai font installed. Please give it a try when it comes out.


Does the 1/16 update improve anything?


Other people have reported success with Japanese text so closing for now.


I think this is related. I noticed that with the 1/16 build the Language menu has blank entries. I'm pretty sure amongst the missing entries are Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin Chinese.

I'm on Kubuntu 12.04 64-bit, and I do have Japanese language support installed on KDE (though I use English by default).

I tried to select one of the blank entries, and when Steam restarted, there was no text at all. All the text, other than the "Steam" on the menu bar, was missing. Not even the rectangles were shown. It was just completely empty. All the drop-down menus were sized as if there was nothing in them. Just a little sliver of grey.

Valve Software member

Do you have those language packs installed on your system?


I have the Japanese language pack. It's listed under Available Language in the Locale section of System Settings.

Maybe it's because Steam doesn't seem to be fully integrated with KDE yet?


Well, I changed KDE to Japanese, just to see what happens, and now Steam is able to render Japanese text. Traditional Chinese, too. The other entries are still blank, though.

So, that's been figured out, I guess. I still don't think the other entries should be blank.

Valve Software member

Its just loading the available glyphs, most likely... and those languages may not be made available with how KDE handles it.

I'd say open this as its own issue.


@gdrewb-valve Yeah, thanks! It's much better now. I can actually read the messages. Although I still have some issues with the inputting characters but I think it's a job for the GTK+ developers. :-)


To shed some light on the comment made by @gdrewb-valve when closing the issue, one such previously filed issue is #23.


Does anyone happen to know the name of the font package that steam uses?


Do you mean the actual fonts? Steam uses fontconfig so whatever system fonts you have available to fontconfig are available to Steam.

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