How much context is given for the lines you’re editing/translating? Do you have any particularly useful resources that you are provided?
The text for the game is supplied in the form of several Excel files. Going from left to right, there is a column containing the original Japanese text, a column containing English text from our translators, and a column containing the edited text I write. A column or two (usually in-between the first two) shows the name of whichever character is talking. That’s the extent of the readily-provided context. Usually, I can determine what’s going on by reading through a section, although I’ll often just edit as I read, and then jump back to change or tweak things when it becomes clear that they need to connect to things further down the page. There are a myriad of context clues that I’ve learned to pick up on that help me figure out what’s going on, what the connotation of a line is, how characters feel about each other, et cetera, and that helps provide an additional layer of context.
For larger projects, the text is usually split up among the translators, so if I run into something I can’t figure out, I’ll ask the translator who worked on that section to clarify. Usually these sorts of questions have to do with Japanese cultural ideas that I don’t get, or strange metaphors and idioms. On VLR, most of the translators had also completed the game, and could give me context on where a given chunk of text appeared in the game, what was on-screen at the time, who was talking, how it fit into the rest of the game, and so on.
If the translators and I were unable to figure out a satisfactory answer, we would put together an e-mail outlining our questions and send it off to Uchikoshi. Noba’s already gone into this in some detail, but suffice it to say that Uchikoshi was super helpful and always got back to us really fast. Plus he put up with my ridiculously anal, nit-picky questions. The end result was that we had an excellent understanding of what everything in the game meant (sometimes even beyond what’s revealed in the game).
Additionally, we were given most of the graphic assets from the game—the still images you see, as well as textures from the 3D items you see in the puzzle rooms. Uchikoshi and Spike Chunsoft provided us with just about all the material we could ask for, and it helped us wrap our heads around a complex, sometimes confusing world and game.