Intro to Playing Japanese Visual Novels with AGTH, ATLAS, and Translation Aggregator

28 Jul

As promised, I’ll give you an intro to some programs used to translate Japanese visual novels into English. More like Engrish. The translations aren’t that good, but a bad translation is better than no translation, and for those who really want to play Japanese visual novels (and have no knowledge of the language), that’s good enough.

So, here we go! Michelle’s Amateur Introductory Tutorial to Playing Japanese Visual Novels on PC with AGTH, ATLAS, and Translation Aggregator! That…is a very long title.

Now, my first draft of this ended up being sort of outlawy. Some routes one can take to play these games are not-so-legal, and in order to have, like, integrity or something (assuming blogs need integrity), I am not going to describe how to do stuff that’s illegal. Plus, I don’t want to get in trouble. The Internet is filled with more appropriate places/forums to discuss those things. Sorry!

Let’s get started.

Meet Zeus. He’s Kyle’s computer. His operating system is Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit), he’s an Asus laptop, and he enjoys making love to mortal women and goddesses alike.

He also prefers casual clothing as opposed to robes and godly laurel crowns. And he prefers not being old and gross.

Both Zeus and Kyle are interested in playing the otome game Akazukin to Mayoi no Mori (赤ずきんと迷いの森). They have similar taste in ladies, and do not mind if a game has a female protagonist, especially if she is pretty and gets some lovin’.

We’ll be using Akazukin in this tutorial. It doesn’t matter what visual novel you play, because the way you set them up is pretty similar. Sometimes AGTH can get tricky, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

  • Step 1: Get a visual novel for your PC!

What game do you want to play? Do some research and find one that appeals to you. There are stores online where you can import them, like JBOX (or its NSFW equivalent, J-List). I’ve seen other blogs have success with Yamato-Touch. They take custom requests, so if what you’re looking for isn’t listed on the website, they’ll prowl around Japan and see if they can find it for you.

  • Step 2: Before installing the game, make your computer think it’s Japanese.

This doesn’t involve making Zeus eat a bunch of Pocky and putting cat ears on his head and forcing him to overuse the word “kawaii”. Just head to your Control Panel and go to Clock, Language, and Region.

Then click “Change display language”.

Change your system locale to Japanese. This requires a restart to go into effect.

To be safe, when you’re done installing Japanese games/playing games in Japanese, I would suggest going back to this menu and changing your system locale back to English. For me, it’s the US one. Just put it back the way it was, so your computer doesn’t get confused when you start using programs and games that are normal for it. But remember, every time you want to play your Japanese games, it is best to change your locale to Japanese.

If you’re following this tutorial, just leave your computer Japanese until the end.

Oh, and I’m not sure if this is required, but it’s probably a good idea to do it anyway. Make sure your computer has the Japanese Language Pack. If you check out Windows Update, it should be on the list of optional updates you can do.

  • Step 3: After your computer is restarted and thinks it is Japanese, install your game.

Install screens are pretty much the same no matter where in the world you go. You might hit the wrong button once or twice, but a bit of trial and error and educated guessing will get you where you need to be.

I hope.

Don’t blow up your computer.

  • Step 4: Download and install AGTH.

Anime Games Text Hooker (AGTH) is a free tool that captures text from running programs. Its main use is to pluck text out of visual novels. Click here to access the downloads. For Akazukin, we’ll use the most recent version (2011.5.9).

Some games are temperamental. Anniversary no Kuni no Alice (アニバーサリーの国のアリス), for example, won’t work with newer versions. I needed to use the 2008.11.20 version to get it to hook properly.

Anyway, you downloaded AGTH, right? Go to your C: drive and make a new folder called “AGTH”. Unpack the files you downloaded into the folder you just made.

Like this!

Gurd jorb!

  • Step 5: Link AGTH with your visual novel.

Now, to start up AGTH with your visual novel, you have to edit the shortcut of the game you’re playing. We’re keeping ours on the desktop. See that apple icon there? Yep. (Oh, sexy Red Riding Hood. ;3)

Right click the shortcut and go to “Properties”. Then go to the Shortcut tab and go down to “Target”. That’s your game’s location. You need to add the following text to the beginning of that:

C:\AGTH\agth.exe /C

My example, using Akazukin:

C:\AGTH\agth.exe /C “C:\Program Files (x86)\キャラメリアトルテ\赤ずきんと迷いの森\akazukin.exe”

Start up the game using this adjusted shortcut. AGTH should open alongside it.


Depending on the game, sometimes you need to add even more text to that shortcut. Akazukin doesn’t, thankfully. AGTH needs a bit of help when it can’t figure out how to hook the text. I don’t fully understand how it works, so when I have problems with a game, I run around the Internet until I find a /h code to fix it.

Example, Anniversary no Kuni no Alice:
C:\AGTH\agth.exe /c /v

Example, Heart no Kuni no Alice (ハートの国のアリス) after V3.01 patch:
C:\AGTH\agth.exe /c /x /HA-C@F3804 /w144D6E

LOOK AT THAT. The commands get crazy. I can’t even remember what they do, other than fix things.

The drop down bar on the top of the main AGTH box sometimes must be fiddled with. /h codes will help with those options, if the correct one to grab the text doesn’t appear. Whatever, programming. You hurt my head.

  • Step 6: Download, install, and hook up ATLAS V14!

ATLAS is a dictionary software that will give you mediocre translations of the text you have obtained via hookery. You can download a 30 day trial over here. This program isn’t free, and the trial will expire 30 days after you open it for the first time. You could buy the software. Or you could crack it, but that’s illegal and such.

Once you get ATLAS installed, open it up. You get this big grey toolbar. Click “QuickATLAS”. This is what you’ll be using all the time. It makes a little icon pop up in the Notification Area in the corner.

Click the corner icon. Make sure “Automatic Clipboard Translation” is checked.


In order to make translations better, it’s not a bad idea to stick user dictionaries into ATLAS. They’re easy to integrate. I like using this guy’s dictionary. Slight warning: HongFire is not the most SFW of Internet abodes, so be weary. You should be fine if you’re not straying from where I link you. Download that ATLAS dictionary and add it like this. Follow the highlighted options.

If there is a different/better user dictionary that you want to use, ignore my suggestion! The one by fhc hasn’t been updated for a long while, but it is pretty hefty.

(I forgot that I should mention this, hence the time travel. Ignore the clock in the corner.) When you’re done with that, open up your game again!

ATLAS and AGTH should work together to do something like this! Check it out. THE MOON WAS A DAZZLING NIGHT BY THE PAIN. Oh boy.

You get used to rearranging words in your head. Context clues help, as well as the atmosphere, music, and tone of the voices (if you’re playing a game with voice acting). It’s a pain, but you will get used to it. This sentence would probably mean something closer to “the moon was so dazzling it hurt [my eyes]” or something. You kinda have to guess and go with the flow. >_>; But it’s better than nothing but squigglies.

By the way, when you first start up a game the hooker (haha, hooker) can get a bit confused. When you’re inputting/choosing a character name or loading a save file, sometimes it freaks out. It tries really hard to grab that text and repeats things for no reason. It’s weird. It’ll usually go away once you start the game.

If stuff doesn’t stop being weird, my rule of thumb is to save, close everything, and then reopen the programs.

  • Step 7: Download, install, and hook up Translation Aggregator!

Translation Aggregator is a free tool that takes hooked text and feeds it into a bunch of online translators, so you have SEVERAL mediocre translations to work with in one convenient space. It has all sorts of addons that I’m not going to get into. At least, not in this tutorial. Too much information at once is suffocating. Go get Translation Aggregator!

Note that you need to be connected to the Internet for TA to work.

Make a folder called TA in your C: drive, and unpack what you download into that folder. (Similar to what you did for AGTH.)

Now you can use AGTH, ATLAS, and Translation Aggregator all together in a symphony of glorious Engrish! Open ATLAS, TA, and then your game.

Some of the TA windows won’t work without some additional plugins and such. I closed out of the ones that don’t function initially.

Now you can play Japanese visual novels in English! Hurray!

I’m proud of you.

Zeus is proud of you, too.

44 Responses to “Intro to Playing Japanese Visual Novels with AGTH, ATLAS, and Translation Aggregator”

  1. MarieNoire April 1, 2018 at 11:10 AM #

    Sadly, for me AGTH closes immediately after opening and ATLAS expired in december of 2015, meaning I have at least 2 problems.

    Does anyone how to do this in 2018? Is there a better way to do it now perhaps? Updated programs and such? I run Windows 10. Everything I find is sadly outdated.

  2. Faye January 17, 2018 at 3:52 PM #

    Hello ! Thank you for the tutorial !
    But I have a little problem, I need the H code for AGTH but impossible to find it.
    Do you know what is the H code for Akazukin to Mayoi no Mori ?
    Thank you !

  3. 中野かをり October 23, 2016 at 11:55 AM #

    Notice on AGTH
    Heey! There’s an easier version of loading your game with AGTH using TA, first open the Text Hooker (Ctrl + L) in TA, then choose the “AGTH” option

    Just make sure agth is in the same folder as TA, and bam, auto load no more cmd 🙂

    Here’s a better explanation, after I copied agth.exe in the TA folder,
    I launch the text hooker (Shortcut Ctrl+L) and then choose the process name of the target game, (ExHIBIT.exe)
    Then, make sure the “Text Hook” is AGTH and “Auto copy to clipboard” is checked.
    Make sure to uncheck “Translate windows menus with Atlas, it will bring up an error, and you wouldn’t need it anyways
    the “Add parameters:” is optional
    /c2000 means it will auto copy to clipboard after 2000 miliseconds (2 seconds)
    /t means agth will stay on top

    After doing so, agth will automatically open and it will now hook the text of the selected game you chose.
    Hope this makes your tutorial 1000% easier in the agth part!

    • Michelle November 5, 2016 at 1:13 PM #

      Thank you for the info!! Much appreciated 🙂

  4. 中野かをり October 23, 2016 at 11:43 AM #


    Heey! There’s an easier version of loading your game with AGTH using TA, first open the Text Hooker (Ctrl + L) in TA, then choose the “AGTH” option

    Just make sure agth is in the same folder as TA, and bam, auto load no more cmd

    Here’s a better explanation, after I copied agth.exe in the TA folder,
    I launch the text hooker (Shortcut Ctrl+L) and then choose the process name of the target game, (ExHIBIT.exe)
    Then, make sure the “Text Hook” is AGTH and “Auto copy to clipboard” is checked.
    Make sure to uncheck “Translate windows menus with Atlas, it will bring up an error, and you wouldn’t need it anyways
    the “Add parameters:” is optional
    /c2000 means it will auto copy to clipboard after 2000 miliseconds (2 seconds)
    /t means agth will stay on top

    After doing so, agth will automatically open and it will now hook the text of the selected game you chose.
    Hope this makes your tutorial 1000% easier in the agth part!

  5. BObo April 4, 2016 at 1:47 PM #

    can you upload atlas free trial v14 ,it the website its already gone

    • Pewn Pewn April 20, 2016 at 2:04 PM #

      Change your system’s clock to before 31st december 2015 before installing

  6. Lash November 25, 2014 at 7:44 PM #

    Sorry to trouble you, but I have a problem … Because after taking everything as instructed, I still see only the game and aght bar at the top. No translation :<

  7. Brian Lee October 16, 2014 at 6:25 PM #

    Sorry to have too ask a question on a blog that was practically ended, but do you happen to know how to make this work with Sono Hanabira Ni Kuchizuke Wo (Translates to A Kiss for the Petals)? Some of the games have translations but #10+ do not, so I was wondering if you knew the commands to have that one work, if you do, please say so, thank you in advance.

  8. Anonymous May 30, 2014 at 8:23 AM #

    I followed all your steps up to 5…But when i open the game it shows only the AGTH bar only and not the game.Have i done something wrong? :/

    • Michelle May 30, 2014 at 3:25 PM #

      Maybe it’s the shortcut? It has to be exactly right or it’ll act goofy. Double-check its properties and see if it’s edited properly?

      • Anonymous September 14, 2014 at 7:28 AM #

        Hello I have the same problem I need to play “cancel a format”.I write the text in front of the shortcut target but after my icon has changed.

  9. Hinano May 5, 2014 at 11:43 AM #

    I would like to know if it was possible to translate from English to French? ^^

    Thank u!

    • Michelle May 30, 2014 at 3:22 PM #

      I only know of the Japanese to English option. 😦
      Maybe there’s a way to make the Aggregator bring up Japanese to French translations, instead? I’m not sure myself, though. Sorry I can’t be more help!

  10. Kiku desu February 14, 2014 at 10:52 PM #

    Thank you very much! My program is run!! (>__<)

    • Michelle February 25, 2014 at 7:10 PM #

      I’m glad this tutorial still helps people out even though I’m not actively updating the blog, haha. You’re welcome!

  11. boldandrebel December 8, 2013 at 3:03 AM #

    didn’t work it only translate the program title,please help

    • Michelle February 25, 2014 at 7:11 PM #

      Sorry for the late response. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about the tool to know what the issue could be–I would try to Google common issues for the specific game you’re trying to play.

  12. rudnet November 9, 2013 at 9:01 AM #

    Ugh, does this method also work with emulating PSP games on PC? With a software like PPSSPP?

    • Michelle February 25, 2014 at 7:12 PM #

      Sorry for the late response. I don’t think so, unfortunately. 😦 The structure of an emulator/PSP game is probably too different to be compatible. I haven’t tried myself, though.

  13. Anne May 27, 2013 at 12:48 PM #

    I am you really thankfull for this here! But… my problem is, that I already have downloadet that game… must I delete that game now D:

    • Michelle February 25, 2014 at 7:13 PM #

      This response is very very late, sorry >_<
      No, I don't think you need to delete it. It should be okay the way it is.

  14. Ren March 12, 2013 at 6:58 PM #

    Thanks so much for the tutorial!
    Does it happen to you too that the hooker grabs a weird version of the game’s text? For me it seems to repeat a lot of the words, and if a dialogue is longer than a line or so it gets really hard to cut it down to what the window actually says – do you have any advice on how to make it more accurate?

    • Michelle April 12, 2013 at 2:35 AM #

      I wish I knew more about how it worked to give a good answer, but when stuff like that happens I just scroll through the options at the top of the AGTH box and hope it fixes itself. 😦 You might need to scour the Internet for an /h code for your specific game..

  15. Lau November 30, 2012 at 3:09 PM #

    Holy mother of god. I love you.

    I don’t care if the translations are a bit engrish sometimes, I’m so happy I could cry. Otome games are like the procrastinating introvert’s crack cocaine and there are so few with english translations….

    That said, I’m actually a bit curious. When I download a zip file for a foreign language visual novel, won’t there be the game text in the files somewhere? I’m just wondering how difficult it would be to patch some of these games myself; couldn’t one just plug in the game text to the basic google translate app and then correct what’s translated into proper english?

    • Michelle December 1, 2012 at 2:46 AM #

      Aaah I love you too ❤ I'm glad you are so happy!

      I totally agree. I wish there were more otome games (that I can actually understand) out there, but at least we can do weird computer things and get Engrishy ones. ;^;

      I also have no knowledge of how game text is stored within all that data. That idea sounds pretty awesome, though. Sorry I'm no help there, but if you find out more about that possibility, you should let me know!

      • Lau December 5, 2012 at 9:07 PM #

        Still though, I’ve been playing Akazukin and some of the translations are golden.

        “Laugh to exhale through the nose and foot, I shrug one’s shoulders in a gesture and a little zany.”

        …lolwut? Really though it kind of adds some charm. I do wish though that the american dollar value wasn’t so horrible so that I could afford to support the makers of these games… $116 for a visual novel… eeeuuugh.

        That said though I’m going to look into it. I realized that patching over in english would require some html work too, as I realized the spacing in letters when playing an english-patched game on the english system locale would get completely fucked. I’m determined though! If I find anything out, I’ll definitely get back to you about it!

        • Michelle December 10, 2012 at 2:14 AM #

          Hahaha, yes! I was playing Under the Moon at some point, and there was a hilariously awful line about how wings moved “the flappingly” and another where someone got insulted and called a “rude squid”–it’s way too funny. I should have written down the best of them. I can’t remember the full sentences, just that I spent a lot of time laughing.

          Yeah, ugh, the prices are terrible…not to mention, it can be hard to find an online shop that even carries them. I mean, if I was paying $120 for a game I could fully understand with no hoop-jumping and no Engrish, I might feel a little differently. But really, that’s a whole lot of money to put down for a game no matter what. I do want to support them, but c’mon @_@ I don’t make enough to do that.

          Awesome! I wish you luck on your info search. Depending on where I end up once I finish this semester, I could potentially have the free time to help with such a project, if you’d like =3

  16. Yuuichi August 28, 2012 at 3:29 PM #

    Hi there, I’d just like to say thanks for this tutorial ( Ive spent AGES trying to sort this sort of thing out ) and its flawlessly written and oh-so easy to follow.

    Ive noticed that the Language pack isn’t available if you don’t have “Ultimate” or “Enterprise” so I had to spend a little while ‘persuading’ my laptop to get it (just thought I’d mention that in case you wanted to write it as a warning in this tutorial).

    I’m also having some problems with ATLAS, I’m not sure if its just the VN ( My girlfriend is the president – fandisk ) but all of the characters, individual words and their Japanese equivalents display in the translation box before the actual line of translated text, can i stop that at all?

    So after youve read all that and decided i type too much I’d like to close by saying:

    thanks again for the tutorial, you and Zeus rock! :3

    P.S my laptop is named Lucchini ^_^

    • Yuuichi August 28, 2012 at 4:51 PM #

      wait, they arent characters, words and japanese words. Its multiple translations appearing in the same box, all slightly different. (im using TA on top of that too with all windows other than the ATLAS box closed as the ATLAS translation clipboard isnt working.

      Gah, this is so confusing :/

    • Michelle August 28, 2012 at 8:10 PM #

      Hello! I’m glad you enjoyed it. You’re welcome! x3 And thank you for that fact about the Language Pack. I’ll add that in.

      I’m trying to figure out why things are getting all screwy for you. My initial Internet searches didn’t yield anything helpful. ._. I’m sorry. I’m not sure why the translations would mash into one place like that… I wish I could say something other than “double-check the steps”, but that sounds crazy and I’ve never had that problem before. Aaah. Did the install of Translation Aggregator get messed up? Maybe the ATLAS Clipboard Translation is grabbing the wrong things by accident…is all the content of TA getting highlighted somehow?

      I hope you and Lucchini can get things working. ❤ ;^;

  17. priesthealsftw August 28, 2012 at 2:43 AM #

    I like how through the first two pictures of my computer it’s like Pic 1: Tons of freaking icons/cluttered as balls desktop! Pic 2: ALL CLEAN~! xD -Kyle of course.

    • Michelle August 28, 2012 at 2:45 AM #

      Your desktop was a freaking mess. xD I was not about to leave it like that. It would be distracting and confusing.

  18. jada August 11, 2012 at 12:13 AM #

    im stuck at link 5 when i try to do that it wont let me it says it invalid im trying to do this to the alice anniversary game

    • Michelle August 11, 2012 at 1:44 AM #

      Hrrrm…make sure you double check everything, from the spaces to the quotes, and that you’re adjusting “Target” and not “Start in”. I don’t think the /h codes are case sensitive (but I could be wrong). I’m not really tech savvy, I just know what worked for me. .__.;

      Did you download the 2008.11.20 version of AGTH? Because if you got the newer one Anniversary probably won’t listen to you.

      • jada August 11, 2012 at 2:40 AM #

        sadly it still did not work my friend just did it and is walking me, literally, through every step, works for her but doesn’t for me…i guess I’m just not meant to play this game

        • Michelle August 11, 2012 at 2:47 AM #

          Oh no. I’m sorry. =( I wish I could be more help. At times it’s taken me hours of searching and trial and error to get things like this to work- maybe there’s just a little piece of the puzzle out of place that you haven’t found yet? You could try searching your specific error? There could be others out there with the same problem.

          I hope you find a fix. Don’t give up hope! Good luck.

          • jada August 11, 2012 at 3:30 AM #

            okay well my buddy just realized what i did wrong when i moved the folder i did not know to change the name from agthwhatever to AGTH after it downloaded. haha but thanks for this post it showed her what to do which allowed her to search through my stupidity. it may be 3:30 in the morning my time but we worked to hard on this I’m playing my game

            • Michelle August 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM #

              Ah! Awesome! I’m glad it was something simple like that. It’s too easy to forget the littlest thing and then it topples down everything else @_@ You’re not stupid, it’s just confusing.

              Have fun playing! You’re welcome~

  19. Moonie August 9, 2012 at 5:58 PM #


    Sorry, sorry ;u; I’m just so excited to finally be able to play this game <3333 I've literally worked on it for daaays to try and get the translation to work. I've been so excited for this game and I was getting sad face because I couldn't get the translations working ( and a headache ). I've looked on other sites for instructions and all that, but they just gave confusing explanations like ( add this h8dyf8df code to the bluh bluh ) and I was sitting there like, "….what….what does that even…. )

    Thank you, so very much~! <33333

    • Michelle August 9, 2012 at 11:04 PM #

      You’re so welcome! It makes me really happy to know that this helped someone out. =)

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