You might be wondering about the Stray language strewn throughout the game’s droid-populated walled city, and whether this secret robot character text with dots and lines can actually be read. Well, after some careful investigation, it can actually be decoded. There’s unfortunately no easy way to translate the written language in Stray while you’re playing the game (perhaps a quick mod can be made for the PC version), but if you’re curious about a particular line of text and you have the time, you can decipher each character one at a time.
How to read Stray language, one character at a time
Stray uses a basic substitution cipher, which replaces one letter of the English alphabet with another symbol, as discovered by Half-Glass Gaming. It was mainly uncovered by noticing the subtitles beneath each chapter title and figuring out each character one by one. The author of the cipher posted above admits that it’s sloppy, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to use.
Luckily, many of the characters look like the letters in the English alphabet; in particular, the “H,” “I,” “M,” “N,” “O,” and “U.” Note that the letter “P” has two variations that’s used throughout the game, and there’s a variation of the letter “E” that has the middle line deleted. Also be on the lookout for other variations of letters, as there may be certain art assets that were made before the full droid alphabet was finalized. Hopefully if you use the cipher enough times, you can read the droid character text more easily over time. And you should decode the text anyway if you wish to learn more about the world.
We won’t spoil any of the text here, but some of the in-game translations aren’t completely accurate. But you can probably chock this up to things being lost in translation. Some of the pieces of text can’t be deciphered precisely. There are some times where a word is flipped around 180 degrees, or places where the same piece of text is copied and pasted multiple times but mean something different than the text would say, according to “proper” translations by your robot companion. For the most part, though, you can use the cipher to get an accurate reading of the android text throughout the game.
For more guides, here is whether we might see Stray on Nintendo Switch, and if we might see Stray on Xbox Game Pass.