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Currently I'm trying to localize a mobile game into popular language.

I'm a bit confused about designing two things: choosing first language when they play game for the first time and changing between them

Currently, I already have several options about choosing first language:

  • Language is chosen programatically based on user's default
    language/font
  • Ask user on first time run to choose which language they want
  • Just set default language to english

Which one should be used? and why?

About changing language, is it necessary to give user the option to change language? If it is, where to put this menu? inside option menu? main menu screen?

  • Related question: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/74426/… – Arqh Mar 30 '15 at 10:30
  • whoops, sorry about that. I tried to search using "localization" keyword and didn't found that one – selharxets Mar 30 '15 at 10:54
  • @arqh can you explain more about your apps? IMO,for apps which used for personal use and utilities (like personal to-do list, social networking) is okay with using user system language preferences. But I think it wouldn't work the same with games, especially with stories, because translating and localizing literature would lessen the value. As example, some user would prefer to play game in japanese (although japanese is not their native language and there's localized version released) instead in english. I think this might be out of UX field, but thanks for answering my questions :) – selharxets Apr 15 '15 at 5:42
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    I currently design apps myself, but I took a quick look at some of the top selling mobile games and they do seem to always have a dedicated in-game language selection ability, usually in settings view. So it's a fair guess that the users expect to have a language selection option in their games, yet in apps they don't find it all that useful. – Arqh Apr 15 '15 at 11:17
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Set the the language to the default system language.

Every mobile game app has to be like a really good butler.

It should give the user everything they need before they ask for it.

Add the languages options, possibly in a slide-out menu, for the sake of displaying as many languages as possible, and so that the user can find their language quickly.

As @Daniel Zahra said, adding all the languages in an options menu is rational and a common thing. Since the app's language is set to the system language, that the user obviously set, they will have no problem with being able to set the language in your game app.

Hope this helped you. Wanna see how your app looks!

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Adding the option to change language in the option menu is both a common and logical idea. You treat the option as a very low priority item within the menus as it is unlikely that most users would use this (assumption) as long as your game is detecting the user's default language os language and using that if it's available.

Should you game also have voice recording, you might want to package the different voices in different packages as having a bigger download for the option of language selection might not be the best idea when users are downloading on their phone.

  • how about choosing first language? should I set default language using system default? or should I let user choose by providing language option using each localized language name (english, deutsch, etc) ? – selharxets Apr 15 '15 at 5:20
  • yes you should go with their system preferences rather than location. That way you allow for things like people downloading whilst abroad, or in countries with multiple languages e.g. US with has English and Spanish or Canada with French and English you'd never know the right choice based on location. – Chris May 29 '15 at 8:13

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