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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31 Responses

  1. mankis says:

    I have a question about step nr. 5
    how can i get to GARMIN\ExtData or GARMIN\Text.
    which program do I need to get to my device storage, not to external (sd card).

    • Hi mankis,
      I don’t have the device at hand, but if you don’t get a normal external USB drive when connecting it to your computer, then probably you have to change the setting concerning interface. On my unit (a different unit, Garmin 62s) there is no such setting, but I remember that on the etrex30 there was System – Interface where you can select USB or similar.

      Hope that helps

  2. Keith Brown (KES) says:

    I wonder if you have any experience making the same kind of modification to a Fenix 2. I’m in Japan now and need the ability to import gpx etc with Japanese.

    Appreciate any help.


    • Hi Keith,
      I just checked the unit on the web, and I don’t see any reason why you would need that? The modification I described is about the user interface, but you don’t want that in Japanese, right?
      Have you tried importing tracks with Japanese names? If yes, what happened?

      It could be that you have to do only the font replacement part in case the unit does not have a proper CJK font installed. But my guess is that this should be possible – but I don’t have such a unit (would like to, but too expensive!).

      Hope that helps

  3. Keith Brown (KES) says:

    I have tried importing the tracks from my friends trekking course. He is British but set the course up for his Jaapanese running club. All the way points come up as various bullet points.
    If you are curious you can see it at ka50kDOTcom.
    Perhaps I only need to place the gtt file in the Fenix? I found the directory but don’t know how to edit it on my mac. Would you be able to drop box me an edited version.

    Feel free to hunt me down on Face book if you like.


    • Hi Keith,
      again what you describe sounds like a font problem, not a gtt problem. If you only do step 2 from the post about the font change, it should suffice.
      The gtt is only needed when you want to change your watch’s menu/interface.

  4. Keith Brown (KES) says:

    Thanks for the advice Norbert. I’m getting in over my head with the make XOR bin stuff.

    • Should I send you a prepared file?
      I also will look into doing the same with my unit and see what is necessary!
      Tomorrow after I’m back from business trip.

      • Keith brown says:

        If you are willing to go to the effort of preparing a file for me I would be very grateful. In the mean time I’ll continue trying to teach myself how to do it.
        I also have an etrex vistaC to play with.

  5. Keith Brown (KES) says:

    Hello Norbert,
    Have you made any progress on the file?

  6. Keith Brown (KES) says:

    I got the file. Thanks so much. There isn’t a garmin/extdata folder on my device but I did find
    I backed it up then deleted it leaving your .bin file in its place.
    When I rebooted the original EPO file was back. I tried renaming your file as epo.bin and again no dice.
    Ditto with both files in place.

    I guess the Fenix2 is hackproof?

    Thanks for the help.

    • Hi Keith,
      I own myself now a fenix 3, and indeed, it is different. One would need to check how updates are installed, but that is probably not trivial.

      Maybe one can adjust the language via the SDK to generate apps and widgets – no idea.

      • Tony says:

        I don’t suppose you’ve had any luck adding Japanese support to the fenix 3? I would love to be able to see notifications with Japanese on them, don’t need the interface to be in Japanese. Only problem is, there is no sign of font files anywhere.

        • No, sorry, no luck till now. Me, too, would love to see Japanese notifications. I have a bit searched and probably using the Garmin API one could generate something, but that is not for me. If you find something else somewhere, please let me know, too!

  7. Rackee says:


    Can I know any technique to use ‘Myanmar’ Font at the Garmin GPS.

    • Hi Rackee,
      I am not sure if this works but what you would have to do is:

      • find or create your own Myanmar.gtt
        finding is the easy option, creating would mean copying one of the .gtt files and do the translation yourself
      • get a TrueType Myanmar font and use it the same way as above

      I have never tried, but believe it is possible.

      • Cosmin says:

        Hi, Norbert. Can you prepare me a lang file with romanian language for garmin oregon 550. I’ve downloaded the romanian lang file for oregon 650 but the device can’t see the file. Thank you in advance

  8. Peter Davis says:

    Should not the Japanese language file be called 006-D0952-02.bin? I believe 05.bin is Arabic.

    I have used your technique to make a Korean font file for my Garmin Montana 650 though I have not managed to type in Korean the unit yet. Thank you for the guidance!

  9. Jay Kim says:

    Hi Norbert.

    it looks you found a solution of problem for not supported languages.

    could you help me to get the information of korean?

    • Hi Jay,
      thanks for your comment. I have never tried Korean, but my guess is that a very similar procedure will work for Korean, too.

      What you would need to do is first getting a translation file, or translating the strings yourself by copying Japanese.gtt to Korean.gtt and then change all the strings.

      Next you need a ttf font for Korean – that should be easy, there are many, and do the same as above.

      That should suffice …

      Unfortunately it was not my unit but a friend’s one, so I cannot try it out myself. Maybe I give it a try on my own (different) unit.

      Let me know if you tried it and whether it worked!

  10. Sunghun Park says:

    Thank you very much. Now I can show japanese characters properly with your help. But No japanese shows up with Garmin Japan Street map(japan_streetmap_NT_v10.img)
    My Monterra can show japanese characters on this garmin map no problem, Can show chinese/korea character at the same time with Taiwan map and Korean map.
    The only problem is that Monterra is too big and heavy compared to Oregon 650

    • Sukanan S says:

      Your comment give me wishes.
      I’m using Fenix 5 Plus (ASIA VERSION), I wanna add Thailand font in my watch or not?

      • I also own a fenix 5+, but I haven’t managed to change language or font for it. It is not clear what needs to be done, but I think it is possible. Sorry for not being of more help, but I will keep an eye open in case I find something.

        • Sukanan S. says:

          Thanks for ur reply, hope that your concern will be addressed accordingly as soon as possible.

  11. Ahmed says:

    Is there a way to add Arabic language to fenix 3 hr please?

  12. Geeb says:

    I have Astro 430. How to add Japanese to astro430?
    I prepare 006-D0952-06.bin and Japanese.gtt. I found folder GARMIN. But I cannot find folder GARMIN\ExtData.
    Thank you for your help.

    • I am not sure about the Astro 430 and whether the same procedure works. I would try to create the ExtData folder under GARMIN, and see if that works. It seems like a device similar to the 560Cx or later, so that might work. Sorry that I cannot help more.

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