Adding Japanese language to an eTrex 30 unit

Recently a friend of mine obtained a Garmin eTrex30 in the normal, that is not Japanese variant. Though my friend’s English is excellent, while mountaineering one normally prefers to work in one’s native language. So I digged a bit through the internet searching for how to add Japanese as a language option.

There are many pages describing the process, but most of them in Japanese, so I write that up now for the non-Japanese.< General overview:

  1. update the unit to the latest firmware (not necessary, but might be useful since we are at it)
  2. choose your preferred font, and prepare it for the unit 006-D0952-06.bin
  3. get the Japanese language file (translations) Japanese.gtt
  4. edit the translation file
  5. put the two files into the proper places

Let us go through the steps one by one:

ad 1. update the unit to latest firmware

the firmware can be downloaded from the Garmin website, the link to the currently latest firmware is 287beta: eTrex20_30_287Beta.exe. Connect the unit and run this file, or, if you are like me on Linux, unzip the file (yes, it is a zip file!) and copy the contained  GUPDATE.GCD into the GARMIN folder of your unit. Then reboot, which will take some time and update the firmware of the unit.

ad 2. choose preferred font, and prepare it for the unit

Choose one of the Japanese fonts that are easy to read, and not too light (too light fonts will not work out nicely on the unit), from the installed fonts (on Windows, see Windows\fonts or from the internet). Let us assume you choose to use the free font VL-PGothic which is available from Under Latest Releases click on the link for vlgothic and your download should start soon. Unzip it and copy the file VL-PGothic-Regular.ttf to your working directory.

You also need to have the xor utility, a simple encoding utility that can be obtained from The Windows version is included, as well as the C code, so compilation on Linux was a matter of typing in make xor. After that the font has to be encoded:

xor VL-PGothic-Regular.ttf 006-D0952-06.bin 0x76

which generated a file (downloadable link!) 006-D0952-06.bin which is the encoded font for the unit.

ad 3. get the Japanese language file (translations)

There are many ways to get hold of one of these translation files, from different units, or internet. I choose to download the firmware upgrade of the eTrex 30J – the Japanese variant – from, at the current moment, unzip it and there it is, the translation file Japanese.gtt.

ad 4. edit the translation file

Now comes a bit a nasty part as we have to edit the Japanese.gtt, namely change in the fifth line the text




That is all. This step is necessary since the normal font does not contain the supported characters.

ad 5. put the two files into the proper places

Finally one has to put the two files obtained in step 2 and step 4 above into the proper places, namely put

  • 006-D0952-06.bin into the folder GARMIN\ExtData
  • Japanese.gtt (the edited one!) into the folder GARMIN\Text

and reboot again.
After that it should be possible to change the language to Japanese in the settings menu. Another reboot and your will see menus like the following:

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