Tools of the Trade

By • March 25, 2013

I’m not so talented a player that I can find everything in an RPG without some help. That’s why I rely heavily on guidebooks and wikis when I plan on translating a game.

As I said in the previous post, I like to become intimately familiar with a game that I plan on translating. That means that I want to see everything in the game at least once (and usually again when I’m doing an alpha translation check). In order to make sure I’m not missing anything, I use a combination of Japanese guidebooks and online resources to meander my way through. I have three guidebooks for Tales of Destiny, as well as one more generic Tales encyclopedia.

My favorite references for Tales games are the guidebooks that Famitsu puts out (on the far left in the picture). These guidebooks always have the most complete information and are organized in a logical manner. In addition to the walkthrough and (usually) complete area maps, the reference section details all of the items, Artes, enemies, ect. They’ve been invaluable resources, which is why I have one for every Tales game I’ve translated.

The walkthrough in my Famitsu guidebook is specifically for Leon’s Side, so I also reference the two center books from V Jump Books as needed. I don’t really like them much and wouldn’t recommend them. The one on the left isn’t even complete. The one on the right is, but the organization is confusing, the maps are lousy, and the reference section is too cluttered. But the art they use is nice and they came with stickers, so there’s that, I guess…

The book on the far right is the old Tales Encyclopedia. There’s a newer version of it that I’ve been meaning to pick up, but shipping from Japan is too expensive, so I’ll probably just wait until I take a trip back there. It’s cool in theory, but the information is pretty hit or miss. On top of that, the old version only has Phantasia, Destiny, Eternia, and Fandom 1 info in it. Given that Destiny and Phantasia have both had remakes since its publication, it’s rather out of date. It’s not really a reliable reference, but I still find it interesting as a collector.

Of course, given that we are on the internet, I should mention there are tons of good resources available online as well. Japanese games tend to have meticulously crafted walkthrough wikis (easily located by appending  to the game name in a search). For Destiny, the one I’ve typically used is It lists all of the items and skits available in a particular area and usually does a decent job of getting you through the game. I won’t say that I love it as much as some of the wikis for later Tales games (Vesperia, Narikiri Dungeon X, and Graces all had awesome ones), but it gets the job done.

I don’t know if any of that information will actually be useful to anyone who doesn’t speak Japanese, but maybe you can think of it as an interesting (?) look behind the scenes at how I do things.

About the Author

I'm the translator for Absolute Zero. I also take care of the project updates.

5 Responses to “Tools of the Trade”

  1. Cool, this is really interesting to know , I think it’s amazing that you spend so much time on learning everything about the game for the sake of a perfect translation,thanks for your hard work man, and good luck in the translation, will look forward to it 🙂

  2. I always love looking at these games manuals. there so colorful and so much work put into them.

    Like the narikiri dungeon 2 manual, all the drawings and colors are so beautiful, I love just looking at it ever now and again.

    Good luck through! hope you enjoy reading everything!

  3. Good to know your progression and translations will be extremely thorough.

  4. hey through! did you hear? INNOCENCE R IS GETTING LOCALISED!

    they said that it and hearts R are being brought to the US! And they have the original games bundled as an extra! they said they will use your fan translation for the old games, so namco asked me to ask you if they could! they also said keep up the the good work on your destin translation!

    oh something else they said but they spelt it in a wierd fashion: oslof plrai.

  5. Let me show you how this is really done.