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This is a guide for new translators.
Updated Fri, 27 Nov 2020 13:52:18 +0100 by Wuzzy



This is a guide for translators. In order to translate Hedgewars into another language you are going to need:

  1. The latest Hedgewars localization files
  2. A text editor like Notepad++, Geany, Vim, etc.
  3. Qt Linguist (not strictly required but strongly recommended). To download Qt Linguist, you have to download the Qt SDK.

Getting the localization files

To get the Hedgewars localization files there are 4 possible ways.

  • A. Clone the Hedgewars source repository.
  • B. Download the latest Hedgewars source code.
  • C. Find the localization files in your current Hedgewars installation.
  • D. Download only the specific files to be translated.

The A is maybe the most convenient way to include the translations in the next Hedgewars release as you can easily produce a patch to provide it to the Hedgewars developers. Note that a fast internet connection is desired as you probably will clone the whole game sources. The other advantage of this way is that it can be used to translate the latest game version that is going to be released.

The B way is a lot like the A way but more limited.

The C is probably the fastest way and the more convenient for the translator. However, it has the limitation that one can only translate the most recent Hedgewars release (the one currently installed) and not the version that is going to be released.

The D way is to download the desired files from here.

Above I am going to discuss the C way (Find the localization files in your current Hedgewars installation).

Finding the localization files

In GNU/Linux you have to look into /path-to-Hedgewars/Data/Locale where path-to-Hedgewars is the path to your Hedgewars installation.

In Windows you have to look into c:\path-to-Hedgewars\share\Hedgewars\Data\Locale where path-to-Hedgewars is the path to your Hedgewars installation.

For example, in an Arch Linux box the path is /usr/share/hedgewars/Data/Locale . For Windows 8, the path is C:\Program Files (x86)\Hedgewars <version>\Data\Locale .

Language codes

Languages are identified with the ISO 639-1 language code (e.g. “de” for German). For regional language variants, an ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code can be appended with an underscore (e.g. “pt_BR” for Brazilian Portuguese).

Translation files

Here is a list of the different localization files of the English language that you should use as your translation reference/template as it should be the most accurate and up to date. The file locations are relative to the top directory of the Hedgewars source code. You can edit all these files with a text editor, but for some files special editors are available.


These are all files which contain translatable text for Hedgewars. Replace “ZZ” with the actual language code.
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Locale/ZZ.txt —In-game strings
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Locale/ZZ.lua —Scripted stuff (missions and game styles)
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Locale/hedgewars_ZZ.ts —Frontend
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Locale/missions_ZZ.txt —Mission names and descriptions
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Locale/campaigns_ZZ.txt —Campaign names and descriptions
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Locale/tips_ZZ.xml —Main menu tips
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Maps/<map name>/desc.txt —Mission map descriptions

These files are not part of Hedgewars itself, but are used by other programs and websites to present Hedgewars:

  • /share/hedgewars/Data/misc/hedgewars.desktopDesktop Entry file for Hedgewars
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/misc/hwengine.desktopDo not translate!
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/misc/ —Desktop Entry file for the engine
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/misc/hedgewars-mimeinfo.xml —File type descriptions
  • /share/hedgewars.appdata.xmlAppData description

Engine (in-game stuff)

  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Locale/ZZ.txt —This contains the core in-game strings, such as the mission panel, the messages at the top, ammo names and descriptions (see below)
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Locale/ZZ.lua —Strings used by Lua scripts, which includes campaigns, missions and game styles (see below)

.txt files

A .txt file is organized in lines and string identifiers. Each string is identified with two numbers like 01:05 . The first number is called the “group”.

Each line must contain a single translation and follows this format:


For example:


See en.txt for the English original texts. Note that some of the numbers may be missing in your file, so you need to add them on your own.

The group 02 is special because texts can be repeated here. These texts are used for event messages like the death of a hedgehog ( 02:00 ). Hedgewars will randomly use any of these messages in the same group. Each language can have its own set of messages for this. Translations can be rather flexible here. In 02 , you don't need to translate every English message, but try to do your best. It is OK to omit messages if a direct translation wouldn't make sense (e.g. for weird English idioms). You can also invent your messages which are more appropriate for your language. If you're in a hurry, you can just add single a single message for each of the 02 groups ( 02:00 , 02:01 , 02:02 , etc.), but don't forget to finish it later.

In the 04 and 05 groups, you can use a couple of special characters:

  • | : Line break
  • : : Highlight itself and all text before that character in this line. The colon itself will be written.
  • :: : Like above, except the two colons will not be written.
  • \: : Will be replaced with “:” without triggering highlighting (escape sequence)
  • \| : Will be replaced with “|” without triggering a line break (escape sequence)

Don't forget to test these texts in-game to make sure everything looks fine.

.lua files

In a .lua file you will find many lines like this:

-- ["Rubber Band"] = "", -- Construction_Mode

Those need to be translated. The part in square brackets is the English original text. The part in the quotation marks after the equals sign is supposed to contain the translation. The initial two dashes and spaces are used for strings which hav not been translated yet. You need to remove them after you've completed the translation.

The two dashes at the end don't need translation, it's just the beginning of a comment for you to show you the source of the English text. In this case, it comes from the Construction Mode script.

Example for a translated line (in Italian):

["Rounds Complete"] = "Round Completati",

In case you need to include a quotation mark in your translation, write \" instead of " .

Note to programmers: These .lua files are actually containing real Lua source code.

Frontend (main menu)

  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Locale/hedgewars_ZZ.ts —Contains most strings of the frontend and you can edit it with Qt Linguist
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Locale/missions_ZZ.txt —This is the mission description strings
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Locale/campaigns_ZZ.txt —This is the campaign description strings
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Locale/tips_ZZ.xml —This contains the tips shown in the main menu. This file is not in XML format.

Mission map descriptions

The map selection shows brief descriptions for mission maps below the preview image. Those can be translated and you find those texts in:

  • /share/hedgewars/Data/Maps/<map name>/desc.txt

Replace “ <map name> ” with the name of any mission map. You see a list of mission maps if you select the map type “mission map” when preparing a game.

To translate these, add a line of the format language code=description (e.g. “en=This is an example.” for English). You must use the following special character sequences for new lines, commas and underscores:

Written text Is replaced by
_n New line
_c Comma
__ Underscore


The following files are not used by Hedgewars itself, but they contain translatable metadata about Hedgewars:

  • /share/hedgewars/Data/misc/hedgewars.desktopDesktop Entry file for the Hedgewars application
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/misc/ —Desktop Entry file for the Hedgewars engine for playing savegames and demos
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/misc/hwengine.desktopDo not translate! This file will be automatically generated from when building Hedgewars
  • /share/hedgewars/Data/misc/hedgewars-mimeinfo.xml —Description of Hedgewars file types
  • /share/hedgewars.appdata.xmlAppData description (for the desciption in software distribution services)

Updating an existing translation

That is relatively easy. Just edit the existing file. You can edit every file with your favorite editor and the .ts file with Qt Linguist.

The en.lua file doesn’t exist. The strings are hard coded in the code.

Creating a new translation

That is easy, too. Make a copy of the English file and rename it to use the language code. For the files in the misc directory, you need to add an additional line for your language (if it is missing).

The en.lua file doesn’t exist. Use stub.lua instead as your template.

Example for French:

  • Copy en.txt to fr.txt
  • Copy stub.lua to fr.lua
  • Copy tips_en.xml to tips_fr.xml

Testing the translations

When finished, you have just to start Hedgewars and choose your language from the Game Preferences, Advanced tab.

If a translation is missing, then the string is going to be displayed in English. Note that you should restart the frondend for the language changes to take effect.

Sharing the translations

In order to share your translations with Hedgewars community there are 3 possible ways:

  1. Talk with a Hedgewars developer in order to include it in the next Hedgewars release. This is the best possible solution
  2. Talk with a Hedgewars developer in order to include it in DLC
  3. Give them the files and tell them where to place them. Of course this is the less convenient way but it is maybe a good approach to let other players double-check your translations

Translation conventions

Hedgehog and team names

When it comes to the names of hedgehogs and teams and other names of related story elements, you can and should feel free to translate those names to your own language. You can be creative and humorous about it, the translation of names does not have to be literal. We want to make the names feel "natural" in foreign languages, too.

For example, the name of the hedgehog “Leaks a Lot” has been translated as “Undichte Stelle” in German. German-speaking players find it quite hilarious. ;-)

But ultimately, you are the translator of the game, the final decision what to do with names is still up to you. You can still choose to just copy the exact name, if you think that’s most appropriate.

Our only hard rule is that once you picked a name translation, you must make sure it is used consistently everywhere.


The name of the game “Hedgewars” should always be “Hedgewars”, in all languages. Please do not change the name of the game in your translation without talking to us first. If you think the game name absolutely must be translated for some reason, please talk to us first and let’s see if we can work something out.


You will find a few abbreviations in the files. here's what they mean:

  • PAotH: Planetary Association of the Hedgehogs
  • Hog Solo and GB: Hog Solo and Green Bananas
  • RS1: Red Strawberries 1
  • RS2: Red Strawberries 2
  • fps: frames per second
  • s: second (SI unit of time)
  • min: minute

Things to have in mind

If you are going to make a translation for a next Hedgewars release strings may not be frozen yet and change before the release. Better ask in our chatroom in cases like that.

Feel free to translate hedgehog and team names into your own language, when it makes sense. Remember that most names are meant to be funny and puns are not uncommon. The game should be enjoyable in all languages.