Windows Phone

Windows Phone 7: Localisation and Windows Phone Features

Anyone who has built an application for Windows Phone 7 in multiple languages will know there are three parts to the process. Within your application you can use managed RESX resource files to provide localised strings. For your application title or the initial text for your Live Tile you must use native resource dlls. Then when you are ready to submit your application to Marketplace you’ll need to provide descriptions, keywords and screenshots tailored for each supported language. At the moment there are six possible languages on the device side:-

  • English (United States)
  • English (United Kingdom)
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish

On Marketplace there are five languages – English (International) is used to cover both variants above. Even if your icon is standard across all languages you still have to submit it with each language as you upload to Marketplace.

There are several ways you can get your text translated, however one thing we noticed from experience is that certain features have established names in these different markets which may not equate to a direct translation from the English. Because the emulator and all retail Windows Phone 7 devices support all six languages you can easily change your device language and see how your application looks.

Feature names

For my future reference (and for yours) I’ve included a table below of some of these which may be useful. As I compile a list of more common words and commands I’ll add them to the table:-

English French German Italian Spanish
Start screen Écran Démarrer Startseite Start Screen Pantalla Inicio
Live Tiles vignettes dynamiques Live-Kacheln riquadri animati ventanas vivas
People Contacts Kontackte Contatti Contactos
Pictures Photos Bilder Foto imagenes
Games Jeux Spiele Giochi Juegos
Marketplace Marketplace Marketplace Marketplace Marketplace
Email E-mail E-Mail E-mail Correo electrónico


Common Controls

See also my previous post with localised resources for the Silverlight Toolkit which localises the Date/Time pickers and ToggleButton controls. This also works with the latest February release of the toolkit, simply use this destination folder:-

C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SDKsWindows Phonev7.0ToolkitFeb11Bin

The exception which proves the rule

Finally another observation which is specific to German. While the UI normally displays pivot headers and toolbar/menu text in lower-case this is not true for German where items should be capitalised.

By Peter Foot

Microsoft Windows Development MVP