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Localisation

Once you get to the point where your script is pretty nailed down, you're probably going to want to translate it into other languages.

SUDS piggy-backs on the existing Unreal Engine localisation process. The text from Speaker Lines, Choice Lines and literal text in Set Lines is extracted and placed in a String Table asset. There is always one string table asset for each script asset, and it's re-generated every time its imported.

String tables are simple key/value stores, and you can use the Unreal Localisation Dashboard to include those in your localisation effort.

Often you'll want to give your translators extra information about the context of the lines they're translating. See Translator Comments for more info.

The keys used for those string tables have, so far, not been something you've concerned yourself with. This is where String Keys come in.

String Keys

By default, the keys for text in the string table are automatically generated at import time. You can open the string table if you want to see them:

String Table

The keys are in fact generated sequentially (although the numbers used are hexadecimal), with "@" characters around them just to act as markers (more on why later). While the generation at import is deterministic, if you change the ordering of lines or insert / delete lines, those numbers will change.

That isn't actually a problem until you start localising, or making use of these keys in other ways (such as saving the current position). Once you start doing that, it's important that these String Keys stay the same, which they won't if you make changes such as removing or adding lines.

Now, once you start localising you probably shouldn't be making changes like this anyway, since those changes would affect the translations too. But, in the real world you might have a need to do this.

Handling changes after strings are locked down

Speaker Lines, Choice Lines and Set Lines with literal text in them can actually have the String Key specified at the end of the line, like this:

NPC: This is a line that has been localised!   @00f3@

When the importer sees that @00f3@ pattern, it knows to use that as the key for this string, instead of generating one. That makes it safe to make edits to this script even if localisation has already started (so long as you notify your translators if it affects their work!).

Now, you don't want to have to add those markers yourself, it would be very boring. So, SUDS provides an automated way to add them.

Right-click on one or more SUDS script assets in the Content Browser and select "Write Back String Keys":

Write Keys

You can also access this function for a single script in the toolbar for the script asset:

Write Keys

Provided the .sud file you used to create the asset can be found in the same location you previously imported it from, this will write back all the string keys from the string table on the end of each line it came from (it validates that the text still matches). From then on you can safely make small edits to your original .sud file and know that the keys will stay the same.

Note 1: Writing back the keys will make UE prompt you to re-import the script, which you should accept so it updates the asset hash / timestamps. It also proves that it works to re-import the keys.

Note 2: In a perfect world, you would just never change your .sud files once you got to the stage where you start localising, so you'd never need this feature. But, this feature is here because we don't live in that world. 😉

Note 3: It's easiest just to save .sud files somewhere in your content directory, and store them in your source code repository alongside the .uasset they created. That way the relative import path is very simple so this tool can easily find them.

De-duplication, or the lack thereof

You might be wondering whether the import process does any de-duplication of strings, both to save (a small amount of) space, and to make it so that the string only gets included in translations once.

SUDS does not do this; every string in your script is included separately. This is for a couple of reasons:

  1. Proper de-duplication would require de-duplicating across all scripts, which would introduce unnecessary complexity and dependencies between scripts. Changing a line in one script could affect whether another script could use the shared text etc.

  2. Context is important. In one language, using the same line for 2 situations might be correct, but in another it might be ambiguous, or just not as good as having a slightly different wording. If SUDS de-duplicated at source, you'd always be forced to use the same translation in different contexts which may not be best.

Instead, every line has a unique string key, both within and across scripts. Re-using translations can still be done downstream in the localisation process, most tools provide help for this kind of thing and Unreal collates localised strings from multiple assets at once so you can do this. But SUDS isn't going to force you to use the same translated line in different circumstances, or weld together different uses of the same text in different scripts that may be coincidental and may change over time. I consider it better to keep the duplication at source to maintain full flexibility and you can de-duplicate later in the translation stage if you want.

Localising Voiced Dialogue

Unreal localises voiced dialogue via the Dialogue Wave asset. See the Asset Localisation documentation for more details.

SUDS can generate the base language Dialogue Voice and Dialogue Wave assets for you, which you then complete for the primary language, then use the Localisation Dashboard tools to translate the assets.

Note, however, that when using voiced dialogue, there's a bit of duplication in the text, since Dialogue Wave assets have their own SpokenText string which is used to generate subtitles if you have them enabled. This is unfortunately not linked to the String Table (it's an FString, not FText), so translation of this text done entirely via Dialogue Wave assets. SUDS automatically fills in the SpokenText property in the base language for you when generating voice assets.

For subtitles, it's up to you whether you use the string table text directly from the dialogue, or the subtitles from DialogueWave, depending on how you prefer to localise. If you localise using the string tables, use the regular GetText() method on the dialogue. If you localise via the SpokenText/subtitle values on Dialogue Wave, use the GetLocalizedSubtitle() method on DialogueWave instead. You should only localise one of these to avoid duplication, so if you localise subtitles via Dialogue Wave, you should exclude the string tables of voiced scripts from your Localisation Dashboard collection step, e.g. by putting voiced scripts in a different folder to non-voiced scripts.

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