So you're all eager to start using UTAU. You download the software from the right website, you've even perhaps downloaded a couple of voicebanks to get started.
You fire up UTAU to make Defoko sing "あ" to make sure things are working. But no sound comes out. There is no "あ". There isn't even anything slightly resembling a hiragana "a".
Oops! You forgot to change locale!
A handy-dandy guide to changing locale for any version of Windows!
Note: If you have Windows XP, there is a chance you may be prompted for the installation disc in order to install the East Asian Languages Pack.
Mac UTAU-Synth users, rejoice, you don't have to deal with any of this. However, download The Unarchiver for Mac and use it instead of the default unzipping utility on your computer, or else you'll get mojibake voicebanks when you unzip them.
IMPORTANT!! If you change your locale AFTER downloading/installing UTAU or voicebanks, you'll need to redownload them and reinstall! Anything downloaded without Japanese locale is likely corrupted with mojibake and will not work!
My UTAU window is displaying gibberish! Like ƒ‘¶ªßª and stuff!
This gibberish is called "mojibake" and it means you do not have Japanese locale set!
It is your computer trying to display Japanese characters, but since you don't have these Japanese characters, it instead displays the closest equivalents to those characters that it can find.
What is locale?
Locale is a country-specific setting in your computer that allows you to use languages and text from that country. For instance, in this case, Japanese locale will allow you to properly display and use Japanese kanji/hiragana/katakana.
Why does UTAU need Japanese locale to work?
UTAU was programmed in Visual Basic, which is a rather old language that predates the now-widespread usage of Unicode. In layman's terms, Unicode is a feature of modern computing that allows for universal display of text characters from all languages on any computer.
Because UTAU is non-Unicode, when it is used on a system not prepped with Japanese locale, any Japanese characters will turn to gibberish, breaking a LOT of stuff both internally in the coding and externally in the interface.
Will changing my locale set my computer to Japanese? I can't read Japanese!
Nope! Locale just means you'll be able to use non-Unicode characters, such as Japanese. It does NOT mean your Start menu and windows will suddenly all be in Japanese text.
Locale by itself does not translate your computer interface, but it may prompt certain software to try to install in Japanese. Typically the installers or software will allow you to change back to English.
Can I use AppLocale instead?
AppLocale will allow the UTAU program to run more smoothly without needing locale. HOWEVER. If you want to use Japanese banks, you will likely require romaji filenames. You can sometimes find romaji-encoded banks for popular UTAU like Teto or Momo, but other banks will have to be hand-converted. You may also need to convert hiragana UST files to romaji.
But I have the English version of UTAU! Why isn't my UTAU working?
Unfortunately, UTAU 4.18e (and previously, the English patch) only translates the interface to English. Since UTAU is programmed using Japanese characters, and UST & voicebanks still use Japanese characters, they'll still glitch up and cease to work.
I'm getting errors like "bad file name or number" and "wav??????????????" What are these?!
These are common errors you get when your UTAU isn't running with Japanese locale. It means the software has run into an issue because it can't read the Japanese characters being used. SET YOUR LOCALE!