Absolute Zero

September 27, 2008

About the Editing Process

Filed under: Games,Tales of Innocence,Translation — throughhim413 @ 10:13 am
Tags: , ,

During this last week, I had some (justified) concerns voiced over mistakes in the screenshots. In response to that, I wanted to talk a little bit what Innocence’s editing process will look like. Just yesterday, I finished dealing with all of the menu files. What that means is that there is something resembling translated text in all of the blanks. Absolutely nothing is final at this point. Rather, this is where the editing process actually begins.

1) First, I’ll do some thorough editing on my own – mostly involves double-checking all of the translations PLUS turning my nonsense into English. At this stage, a fair number of silly mistakes will remain, mostly the sort that you would expect from editing one’s own work.

2) After my editing is complete, I have arranged for an editor to look everything over. As a Japanese speaker herself, she will be checking both the translation and the style and grammar of the translated text. In short, her job is to tear my text to pieces. She doesn’t know how to hold back, so she’ll probably insult my intelligence and nearly bring me to tears on several occasions, but that’s exactly what she is on board for. It is worth noting that did not have the opportunity to do this for Tales of Phantasia’s v1.0.

3) After both of these processes have been completed, the text will go into final editing. This may involve a third party, but it might also involve myself and the previously mentioned editor clearing up any remaining issues. This portion of the editing is still being planned. How much is changed during this stage really depends upon the results of the second editing stage.

4) Beta testing. If anything should have managed to slip through the previous editing processes, we hope that those selected for the beta will be diligent in pointing such mistakes out to us. By the end of the beta phase, the product will be ready for release and free from any noticeable bugs and mistakes. By this stage, we feel we will have exercised due diligence, bringing the product within a reasonable margin of error.

That’s the short version of what I have planned for editing. I hope that this relieves at least some of the concerns about mistakes in the screenshots. I really do recognize the need for good editing and for translation checking. I am dedicated to making Tales of Innocence the best work that I have ever produced. It’s not there yet, but stick with us until the end and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Since this is also our weekly update, here are two screenshots for those of you less interested in text and more interested in shiny pictures.

We had never shown off a main menu picture before. What’s up with that? Well, there you have it. The main menu in all its glory. The second picture is yet another battle screen. The main feature to note here? Macron characters in the arte names, allowing us to neatly romanize long vowels in English. I don’t know about anyone else, but after translating Tales of Phantasia, I fell in love with macrons. Definitely my preferred romanization method.



  1. nice looks great can’t wait for it

    hope it will finish soon

    and good luck

    Comment by srw4ever — September 27, 2008 @ 10:24 am

  2. This is looking like it’s not only gonna be your best translation, but one of the best fan translations ever! I’ve noticed that there haven’t been any screenshots that show the condition, world map, or navi map lower screens. Maybe cause they don’t have any text on them? I assume if they do you will translate that too. Great job and good luck!

    Comment by Freudian Lemur — September 27, 2008 @ 10:54 am

  3. If those screens did have text on them, we would translate it. However, since the screens are only images, there hasn’t been any reason to show them.

    Comment by throughhim413 — September 27, 2008 @ 10:57 am

  4. Good! Keep up the good job, I don’t care how much time it takes you for the translation because It’s gonna be worth it, this translation’s awesome.

    Comment by Noitora — September 27, 2008 @ 11:05 am

  5. This translation will suport caracters like Γ£,Γ©,Γ³ (…) ?
    It would be cool to romhackers from others countries (like me :P)

    Comment by Touro — September 27, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

  6. Looks great! I don’t personally like the macrons, but they certainly do the job. And it would be great for any foreign-language translations πŸ˜›

    One suggestion — Styles instead of Style? Not sure if it will work as well as for Artes and Items, but hey.

    Comment by Kaji — September 27, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

  7. You are my lord and savior and I will worship you for all my life. πŸ˜€

    Comment by ryusenka — September 27, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

  8. great job looks awesome, it would be a great chrismas gift.

    Comment by Sora — September 28, 2008 @ 12:36 am

  9. awsome man, u r something else…lol

    Comment by kyon — September 28, 2008 @ 11:10 am

  10. *opens mouth* *closes mouth* Wow. I just recently found out about this project and needless to say, I’m thrilled. I’ve only heard good things (MANY good things) about your team’s Tales of Phantasia translation patch so am tremendously excited to see the good news. Anyway, what I really wanted to say was: having read the announcement post as well as other previous posts on Innocence and seeing the dates, all I can say is you are making phenomenal progress. I’m practically speechless. I like that you sound really dedicated to its quality, the way you talk about the progress of this project and seeing the work you’ve done so far is really awe-inspiring, I think. Keep it up. (Fight!) I patiently look forward to the finished product.

    Comment by Kelocena — September 29, 2008 @ 3:24 am

  11. Im really a shiny pictures guy at this point, but Im really looking forward to this, great job.

    Comment by LuigiGBA — September 29, 2008 @ 3:55 am

  12. I’m following this project since you posted on gbatemp and it looks damn great! I can’t wait for it to be over. If you need beta testers I’ll be honnored to be part of them. Though I don’t understand anything about japanese I can play the game and see if there are any problems with the english itself…

    Comment by Logits — September 29, 2008 @ 9:19 am

  13. Looking great. Can’t wait. I’d want to beta it too!

    Comment by -Haseo- — September 29, 2008 @ 4:02 pm

  14. A small thought/suggestion. Would you be able to reposition the menu options to be consistent with most of the other Tales games? Equip, Strat and Cooking are all in weird spots…

    Comment by Majutsuko — September 29, 2008 @ 8:01 pm

  15. This is awesome! You’re probably the fastest game translator I’ve seen so far. Keep it up!

    Comment by nex — September 29, 2008 @ 9:22 pm

  16. One of the concerns I raised last week was that you implied that you did not intend to prevent yourself from making the same mistakes in the future that you’ve made in the past. Editing is, after all, for catching mistakes that may have been made, but–due to human fallibility (again)–there is a limit to how many errors the editing process can catch. Errors that never get made save time: doing a first translation pass that’s full of self admitted “nonsense” means that you’re introducing translation mistakes at the very beginning of the process. Furthermore, since the first pass is, by definition, not to be trusted, you would have to redo your work in order to be sure you didn’t miss anything.

    If the intention is to fill the blanks with something, stock phrases or placeholder notes will do. If the intention is to translate the text in order to fill the blanks, then all of the research required to get an accurate translation needs to be done right the first time, so that the first editing pass can concern itself with verifying the accuracy and not introducing it–in other words, so that the first edit can be an edit instead of a rewrite. You seem committed to doing a good job, so I must warn you that you’re introducing systemic errors early into your process, which will make it very hard and much more time-consuming to do said good job.

    Comment by Thundercles — September 30, 2008 @ 4:24 am

  17. Don’t misunderstand, I never said a single word about introducing translation errors. When I mentioned “nonsense” I was referring not to the translation, but to my sometimes awkward ENGLISH. The purpose of my initial editing pass is to stop thinking of the text as Japanese and start editing it as English, a distinction that is difficult to make during the initial translation. So yes, there were a few mistakes of that variety, but in terms of translation mistakes, so far the list is only “Scent Tracer”.

    Well, in any case, I’m not here to make excuses. Even before making this post, I felt I might have been spitting in the wind. Your concerns are legitimate and I want to address them as best I can, but I’ve reached the point at which I just want to say “wait and see”. The purpose of this editing post was to outline my plan for turning what I already consider a good translation into a great one. I can’t really convince you otherwise. It is entirely up to you if you want to believe me or not.

    Comment by throughhim413 — September 30, 2008 @ 5:32 am

  18. While Thundercles is on that subject, I have a few concerns of my own. I’ll probably discuss them with you over PM at some point.

    Comment by Kaji — September 30, 2008 @ 11:26 am

  19. Aye, there’s the rub, isn’t it? Somehow, you believe that this is a matter of opinion, and that I’m convinced that no matter what, it’ll turn out poorly. Also, you didn’t have to say any words about translation errors, the case of the “Scent Tracer” is enough. Observe what just happened:
    1) You published a few screens containing work so far
    2) There were concerns about translation errors (errors in Japanese->English, not awkward English) in those screens, to which you responded “They’re not final, so corrections have no place at this time. There may be errors in the final product, but I’m only human.”
    3) I tried to tell you that you sounded like you were trying to avoid the need for editing and fixing things
    4) You published your editing process to assuage concerns, which says, and I paraphrase, “The screens you see: my first translation pass” You’re saying as much right now.
    5) I said that you were doubling the amount of work you had to do by not doing the initial translation pass right the first time. I quoted your nonsense line before, but I could (and should) have just mentioned Scent Tracer. I didn’t need to say that your first pass is going to have translation mistakes: you said as much yourself, in the case of Scent Tracer where you didn’t have access to the proper translation tools and yet translated anyways by guessing.
    6) You respond by picking out the nonsense word and explaining it, ignoring the fact that your first pass has a translation error already (due to bad process) in favor of responding to my word choice. Then you tell me that you consider your first pass to be “a good translation” (errors included, I’m assuming), and that I should wait and see what comes.

    Now I’m left repeating myself (even more than I already am: when did I get so circular?), since you didn’t understand me the first time: your process introduces translation flaws at the initial level because your first translation pass doesn’t use the full resources required to do an accurate translation. In the case of “Scent Tracer”, you yourself said you guessed, and I’m going to keep using that example because you’ve published a limited number of screens. If you’d like me to bring out a list of Tales of Phantasia errors instead, I can make you a list, but I’m trying to stay on topic. However, I don’t need to trot out some list of translation mistakes, you’ve damned yourself with your own words. I thought that you had said that the first pass was just to make mockups, and not an actual serious translation pass, but now you’re telling me that something where you’re guessing at translations is what you “consider a good translation”.

    I’m sorry you feel like you’re spitting in the wind: I sympathize, since I feel much the same way right now. I’m not doubting that editing will improve your translation, I’m trying to tell you that your initial translation process is flawed while you try to convince me that it’s ok because you’re hitting it with editing until it shapes up. If you’re not here to make excuses, then why is your latest post an excuse to not have to respond to my supposedly legitimate concerns?

    Comment by Thundercles — September 30, 2008 @ 11:36 am

  20. Kaji, feel free to PM me any time, I’ll be happy to discuss anything.

    Thundercles, I guess I’m a bit confused as to your intentions, then. There are currently mistakes in the translation. My process for translating is not as efficient as it could be. Those are facts, so where do they leave us?

    Is it your intention to help me improve in some way? If so, perhaps a private method of communication would be more suitable. However, I have to assume that since you went to the trouble of coming to my blog, you intended for others to hear what you had to say. And if your goal was simply to call me incompetent, I have to say there are much easier ways of doing so.

    I’m not entirely sure what I’ve done to earn your ire, but I do apologize. I’m just here trying to have fun translating a game. I never claimed to be a professional translator and I don’t believe that I’ve ever misrepresented myself as such, that’s why I’m working on a fan translation. I don’t recall ever having done anything to you that would cause you to hate me. The only times we have interacted have been during exchanges like this. I don’t think I’ve ever been the aggressor in the past, but perhaps I’m forgetting something? I guess what I have to wonder is even if I disappeared, what would you really have accomplished? If I’ve completely misread you, I’m very sorry, but I can’t seem to see any other motivation.

    Comment by throughhim413 — September 30, 2008 @ 12:11 pm

  21. I, for one, think Thundercles is reading too much into exactly what words are being used. The facts of the matter are that the text in the screenshots (be they nonsense or a first pass at translation) have errors in them, and he/she intends to rectify them, by whatever method he/she sees fit. I think that throughhim413 is so far doing a fantastic job of hacking the game, has made spectacular progress, and all this has been taken out of his/her free time. Thundercles has every right to give constructive criticism, and state his/her opinion. But tearing apart the wording and examining every statement is just pointless and vindictive.

    Comment by Freudian Lemur — September 30, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

  22. Honestly, I was trying to provide constructive criticism to throughhim’s translation process. I didn’t do it privately because I didn’t feel that I had anything to hide; also, public channels promote discourse, and I was hoping to see someone (preferably throughhim himself) prove me wrong. If my criticism isn’t sounding constructive, then it’s my failing, but I have no reason or intention to attempt to defame someone, especially not someone who is contributing so much to the translation community. I appreciate the amount of time and energy it takes to translate a game, and how much skill is required to get anywhere in the translation process, so if I’ve managed to belittle your work, I apologize.

    As for my intentions: if you disappeared, throughhim, then this whole line of discussion would have done everyone a great disservice. As you said, what purpose would it serve? If I was inspired by some kind of ire or malice, then what would be the point of posting here? I’ve always initiated our communication because, let’s face it, there’s no reason why you would talk to me otherwise, I contribute nothing but moral support–if what I do can be classified as such–to the translation community. Furthermore, you’re absolutely right, I’ve always approached you with critical words. However, I’ve never tried to say anything baseless or accusatory, and I’ve tried to explain myself each time. If you’ve read “The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul”, my intention was not to be your vengeful astrologer, posting about your idiocy and stupid hat in your horoscope. I did not realize I was sounding vindictive; I shall endeavor to critique in a more relevant manner in the future. I’m curious what I did to sound as if I’m full of ire, or calling you incompetent, or pointless and vindictive; I’d like to avoid such offense in the future. However, I’d like to point out that if I hated you, I’d either try to defame you or simply avoid interacting with you. If it’s all the same to you, I prefer to discuss such matters in public channels, where I can draw upon a wealth of people to correct me if I make a mistake in one of my arguments

    Sounds like you’re having fun and success translating this game, so I congratulate you on meeting your goals. I’m not exactly sure where the professional translator aspect comes into play here, but it sounds like you’re saying a certain number of faults and missteps are acceptable since you’re a fan translator, and fan translations have a much lower bar of quality that they have to fulfill. I guess that’s your call to make.

    I’ll try rewording my concerns into a less threatening tone. Basically, you made a (somewhat funny) mistake while translating things on your first pass because you guessed and guessed wrong. I was wondering if you were going to try to catch mistakes like that during the editing process or try to eliminate them from ever entering the translation by correcting the situation that caused you to guess in the first place. It’s my opinion that the latter saves you time in the long run and makes for a smaller chance of mistakes making it to release, so I wished to know what your method was going to be.

    Finally, in answer to your question about the facts, the facts leave us with a single question and its follow up: are you going to endeavor to improve the efficiency of your translation, and, if you are, how so?

    Comment by Thundercles — September 30, 2008 @ 2:50 pm

  23. You know dude , we all love you. πŸ˜€

    Comment by DarkSamith — September 30, 2008 @ 3:10 pm

  24. I should apologize for overreacting. I suppose it was the Tales of Phantasia comment that really irked me. I’m as aware as anyone of the mistakes the lurk in v1.0 of the Phantasia patch, their presence is an old wound that it felt like you were grinding salt into. Along with the fact that only I was editing Phantasia, it has been almost a year since then. During the past year, I was studying Japanese in Japan and I like to think that I improved… Pointing to Phantasia as an example of my work felt like it negated that year of progress somehow. I took it too personally, using Phantasia as an example is something I should expect, really. In any case, let me start over. It seems that I have misjudged your intentions.

    I’ll start with the final question you asked, in which I have to go back to my lack of context. I don’t want this to sound like an excuse, so do forgive me if I give that impression. When I was first translating the item list, it was formatted in an alphabetical (by kana) format. All of the item names were listed at the beginning of the file followed by all of the descriptions at the end. The descriptions were also sorted alphabetically, so the first item name in the file did not necessarily match up with the first description. I was translating blind, which is something that a translator should never do. I accept full blame for that. It was my intention to modify them once I had a patch and could see which description went with which item name. While translating the file, I marked every single item that I was unsure about.

    Things like:

    Don’t think you can attack multiple times in one turn.

    (I understood what it meant, but it was clear that it was making some kind of reference or joke. After checking the name of the item in-game and researching it, I found out that the Hayabusa Sword is a Dragon Quest item that allowed you to attack twice in one turn.)

    And everyone’s favorite:

    Scent Tracer

    (Without the context given by the description, tracing saints didn’t make sense to me, so I went with tracing scents. It made logical sense, though as gogs pointed out, it was meant to be Saint’s Tracer. I didn’t catch this one as quickly because as one of the final weapons, it took me a while to acquire it in-game.)

    By the time I got to the end of the item list, I had a headache from all the ???s in the file. I realized that the format wasn’t going to work. It was at that point that I asked Kingcom to reorder all of the files and he produced versions of ALL of the menu files in proper order. In addition to the context within the files, I now have access to a much more complete save that allows me easy references in-game especially for the Awakening List. While refining the menu files, I have increased the number of checks for each name and description. I have been more thorough about researching anything I’m uncertain about. I also purchased the Tales of Innocence guidebook, which I use to check the effects of certain Style abilities and strategies that have rather vague descriptions in Japanese. Everything that I have finalized will be checked with at least one if not two independent sources before being passed off for the ACTUAL editing. I am still in the midst of checking these files. The longer ones like artes, cooking, and the main item list take a fair amount of time to research properly. Following the embarrassment of Scent Tracer, there is nobody who wants to avoid a repeat of that more than me. While it was pre-revision and was translated without context, it is a silly mistake that I should not have made.

    As I move out of the menus and into the game script itself, context is much easier to establish. I have played the entire game twice and have seen the majority of the skits available in the game. I have already established terms for many of the game-specific terms such as Inousha (Avatar) and Tenseisha (Incarnate), but any other terms that come up will be properly researched before they are finalized. The foreshadowing is much easier to deal with having played the game several times. Although I’m still trying to reduce the number of “Bring THAT out!” “We should use THAT!” kind of statements in the game… Overall, I expect to have fewer stumbling blocks in the script than I did in the menus, but I will certainly make efforts to streamline the editing process by attending to detail in the translation.

    I want this translation to be something that everyone can enjoy. Phantasia was my effort to do that single-handedly. While I wouldn’t call it a failure (and I certainly enjoyed working on it), it is a fact that my translation of Phantasia could have been much better. In addition to translation errors, there were plenty of awkward lines. It is for that reason that I planned additional editing for Innocence from the beginning. I hope that if you spot mistakes, you will continue to help me correct them. I’ll try to take the criticism with more class, rather than jumping to conclusions like a petty little kid. I hope that answers your questions, but if not, let me know.

    Comment by throughhim413 — September 30, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  25. Hey throughhim413, I would like to say good job on everything up to now. Anyways may I make a suggestion, in the menu where u see Name then character name; is it possible you can take the Name and just leave the character name by it self. I think it would look better.

    Comment by LJkAze — October 1, 2008 @ 10:38 am

  26. Actually, to add to that… perhaps try to imitate the other menu text for those names? (like Change Leader, etc.) IIRC those were just graphics, at least in the Japanese version. It would probably be pretty cool to have stylized/shaded/whatever graphics there. perhaps also for “Awakening”, not sure if that was originally a graphic, though.

    I think you had to move the “Name” thing to the left to make them fit; as LJkAze said, it might be better to remove them.

    Comment by Kaji — October 1, 2008 @ 11:57 am

  27. Throughhim, thank you for addressing my concerns; what you’ve said just now inspires confidence and trust. I’m pleased to hear that you’re working to eliminate the causes of your mistakes. For my part, if I find a point of contention in the future, I’ll try to stick to a less confrontational tone when voicing it. In my defense, it was a little maddening to see the explanation for how an error could have made it into the translation without visibility into how you’re working to improve your process, but I believe I let my frustration get the better of me. I look forward to seeing what a difference a year makes.

    Comment by Thundercles — October 1, 2008 @ 1:05 pm

  28. Yeah, I had to move it more to the left. Changing the lower screen’s names to match that style would be an easy thing, as they are stored as graphhics in the first place, thus easy to change. We’ll think about removing the “Name” label.

    The top screen is a bit more difficult to handle, as the names are plain text there, but I could probably change it to use graphics if there is sufficient vram space left (there really should be). I could do the same for Awakening.

    Comment by Kingcom — October 1, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

  29. Oops, one more suggestion I had. The lowercase ‘t’ looks like it could use a tail.

    Not sure if you really want to use graphics for the top screen, I figured it would be cool at least for the lower screen since it’s otherwise all graphics anyway.

    Also, I don’t think I see you around here much, so let me just say it — amazing work on the hacking end, KC!

    Comment by Kaji — October 1, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  30. People should stop bitching and complaning all the time if youre soo good why not you guys hack it yourself give throuhhim a break! for crying out loud! seriously! u guys thinks its easy to hack a rom! Throughhim is only human Of course he makes mistake u guys should be lucky and appreciative of what they have done for us at the very least there is someone that wanted to traslate the game for us for FREE!!!!!!!! so if you guys have some complaning to do how about u guys start complaning about yourself first! Throughhim u just do your thing okay no worries

    Comment by Aqil — October 1, 2008 @ 7:31 pm

  31. Aqil, there’s really no need for comments like that. I appreciate your support, but people have every right to tell me where they feel I fall short. I have no intentions of running from my shortcomings. If I wanted to pretend to be perfect, I could simply delete all of the comments that I disagree with, but I don’t. Hiding from mistakes does not help anyone. Frankly, I’m glad that there are people who will criticize me. Much though I enjoy the ego tripping, I would rather have one critical comment than one-hundred telling me that I am their “lord and savior”. It takes both kinds of comments to keep a project moving, but don’t feel you have to defend me. People who make complaints are people who want to see this project improve just as you and I do. The more contributions that are made to this project, the more it improves.

    Comment by throughhim413 — October 1, 2008 @ 8:13 pm

  32. I am thoroughly impressed with throughhim’s acceptance of constructive criticism, if only more actual game developers were like you.

    Comment by LuigiGBA — October 2, 2008 @ 4:16 am

  33. throughhim I have question:
    I looked in wikipedia for Tales Of Innocence. There, the name of the main character is Ruca, but in your screens it’s Luca. Is it now Luca or Ruca? And wich translation is wrong?

    Comment by Mivey — October 2, 2008 @ 5:06 am

  34. Thank you fr your efforts, throughhim413 and Kingcom. Your work is awesome! ^_^

    Comment by Glenn — October 2, 2008 @ 5:27 am

  35. The name could be both Luca and Ruca. Neither is wrong. I’m going with Luca because I believe that it is closer to the original intent of the Japanese kana.

    Comment by throughhim413 — October 2, 2008 @ 5:30 am

  36. “Frankly, I’m glad that there are people who will criticize me.” – throughhim413

    Your attitude towards criticism is amazing for a game developer. As an artist myself.. I have to accept many type of criticism as well. There are many who always think that complaints are annoying. You are amongst one of the few who I’ve seen who takes any type of complaint to a certain degree. You amaze as well as your work.

    The project looks amazing. Best of luck with the rest of the project. πŸ™‚


    Comment by Anakir — October 3, 2008 @ 4:24 pm

  37. Thanks a lot for your hard work, don’t listen to people that only complain and never help, you’re doing a great translation so far, keep up the good work! I’m one of your fans :).

    By the way, could you put your translation progress in %?… That way we could have a better idea of the way the project is progressing.

    (English isn’t my 1st language, excuse my horrible grammar/spelling please)

    Comment by Soul_Alchemist — October 18, 2008 @ 8:01 pm

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