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After Effects Multi-Language Support

Posted by Jon Geddes
11:54 am on May 19th, 2009

For those of you who are using After Effects in a different language besides English, you might have noticed many project files (such as the ones that come with our Pro Motion Menu Kits) have problems opening if it was originally created in another language version. This problem is caused by expressions that link to expression controls such as a “Slider”.

When the project is opened in a different language such as French, the name of ¬†“Slider” becomes “Curseur”, however the expression that links to it is still looking for “Slider”. This causes the expression to not work, and produces an error message upon opening the project. This is not unique to the slider control either, all the names of expression controls will change.

There are 2 ways to overcome this problem. The first method is to go through each expression that links to an expression control, and change the name to it’s alternate language counterpart. You could then save the project and name it appropriately so people would know which language version it is for. You would have to do this for each language you want your project to support, and could be very time consuming depending on the complexity of your project. It’s possible a fancy script could assist in this process.

The second method is to open the project in it’s native language. Adobe has made this very easy to accomplish with After Effects CS3. Simply navigate to the ‘After Effects’ directory, then go into the ‘Languages’ folder, and open the link with the appropriate suffix.

Here is a list to help you out:

  • After Effects D – German
  • After Effects E – English
  • After Effects F – French
  • After Effects I – Italian
  • After Effects J – Japanese
  • After Effects S – Spanish

Update: Todd Kopriva from Adobe was kind enough to point out that Adobe has changed things with After Effects CS4 and you can no longer launch any version you want. However, you can always launch the English version from a command prompt (or from a modified shortcut) regardless of which language you installed.

His blog post can be read here:…

Hopefully this will be helpful to many of you concerned that our projects will not work in your version of After Effects.

7 Responses to “After Effects Multi-Language Support”

  1. Todd Kopriva says:

    Things have changed a bit for After Effects CS4:

    You can now choose to run After Effects in either the language that you installed and activated in or in English. But you can’t just choose any language. Switching to English is sufficient for the purpose that you describe, of course.

    Creating expressions with the Expression Pick Whip Writes Compact English preference enabled makes expressions work better across languages:

  2. Jon Geddes says:

    Thank you for the links. The blog post has been updated to reflect that information. However, we do have Compact English enabled, and while using the pickwhip, it still generates non compact english syntax for our expression controls.

  3. Nguyen Lam says:

    Yesterday I download a ready project which everything was name in Chinese (or Japanese), I cant really tell. I open it in CS3 English edition and CS3 just cant read all of them, everything appear in some strange symbols. So I decide to replace it one by one but it seems that CS3 even cant read the folder which was named in Chinese (or Japanese) way.

    So then I decided to open CS3 J in Language folder, then it said my system doesn’t support it and I need to read the ReadMe file. I read it but didn’t find anything helpful. So, dont know what to do now….

  4. Jon Geddes says:

    For your system to display Chinese or Japanese symbols, the operating system needs an additional language package installed. Instructions on how to do this should be easy to find on google. A simple search for “install japanese language pack” should do it.

  5. Nguyen Lam says:

    I installed that pack, AE start to reading Chinese, no strange symbol (well, at least it looks like Chinese) but it still cant find those missing project file, and when I start to re-importing .tga sequences, an error occurred, said that cant read from source ??/???001.tga something.

  6. Jon Geddes says:

    Well make sure the file is renamed to something in english, then replace the asset in the project with that of the english version. If the project was saved after it was opened on a system that doesn’t support the language, it’s possible that the question marks replaced the chinese/japanese symbols in the project file, resulting in your issues. I haven’t experienced your particular problem, so I can only make educated guesses.

  7. abhay says:


    At first I have tried to open it in After effects CS 4(german). It was not possible to change the background colors. So that I have tried then in english version. It worked correctly but if you do the render process through render queue the result is that the backgroundcolor of “pro motion menu kit 5 ” appears in red and the title are also rendered in red.
    Then I tried to render manually file>export>quicktime
    So the result was fine.
    Do I something wrong?

    I think if you use the render process through render queue the german version will be start. Is it right???
    I will try to install after effect cs 4 in nativ english and report it here.



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