A Test of Trivia: Translating the Quiz

Thought you knew everything there was to know about your favorite Tales of game? Well, think again! The quiz book in Tales of Destiny 2 will test your knowledge to the max. It sure tested ours!

Translating this gigantic quiz book is no easy feat, even for the most knowledgeable Tales of fans. With questions ranging from unlocalized titles to trivia about supplementary material or localized games that cut or changed content on our plate, just how did we go about tackling this task?

To start with, there are six different quizzes in the game, and each has its own category. There’s the Tales of Destiny 2 quiz given by Loni, the Tales of Phantasia quiz given by Reala, the Tales of Destiny quiz given by Judas, the Tales of Eternia quiz given by Nanaly, the Tales of Et Cetera quiz given by Harold, and the Tales of Destiny 2 of Kyle quiz given by, well, Kyle. Each quiz requires its own approach to translation.

The two Tales of Destiny 2 quizzes were quite straightforward—we lifted terminology straight from our work on the rest of the game. Context was at times a bit tricky, though. It still required knowledge of the events that transpire to get a grasp on what each question is asking. Occasionally, wrong answers take terminology and characters from other games, so we always had to double-check for references.

The Tales of Phantasia, Tales of Destiny, and Tales of Eternia quizzes are based on the PSX versions, which caused for some rather interesting issues in approaching translation. Tales of Phantasia for the PSX was never localized. Only the GBA version was, and there are quite a few differences in the content of these games. Tales of Destiny and Tales of Eternia, while localized, cut a lot of content in the English release as well as changed many names and terminology, some of which were reverted in later Tales of games. Due to this, a question that often popped up was, “Just how do we translate this and keep it consistent with both our patch and current Tales of localization standards?” The answer was not so simple.

Our first difficulty was mixing and matching terms for Tales of Phantasia. Along with the GBA official port, there have been three different fan translations of other versions. As the quiz refers to the PSX version, which greatly differs from the GBA one, we couldn’t use it as a base for every single issue. For the questions that couldn’t be answered via the GBA version, or where the terminology was inconsistent with current localized Tales of games, we had to take a look at the different versions and discuss what English-speaking Tales of fans are more likely to recognize. (Some of you might recall us individually posting polls about Tales of Phantasia translations. This was why!)

Up next, the PSX version of Tales of Destiny. Although what we are working on in tandem with Tales of Destiny 2 is the remake version of Tales of Destiny, Tales of Destiny: Director’s Cut, it doesn’t help much in the way of tackling this particular quiz. With many of us not being very familiar with the PSX version, our biggest hurdle was research. Familiarizing ourselves with the game was of the utmost importance. The terminology took the same approach as our general method: the hybrid method. We keep what we can but update or change things based on modern Tales of standards and our own terminology choices for the Destiny duology.

Tales of Eternia was mostly straightforward, with only a few things that needed to be updated for consistency with the rest of our patch. However, there are quite a few questions and answers about content that has been cut from the game, such as the Etapoke mini-games. This was yet another game that required a lot of research due to it having been too many years since our members last played it.

Last, but not least, the Et Cetera quiz, which may be the toughest for English-only Tales of fans. This quiz questions you about Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon, Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 2, Tales of Fandom Vol. 1, as well as supplementary material such as drama CDs, Japanese pre-order bonuses, and even Tales of Eternia: The Animation. We had to come up with brand new terminology, as neither of these games nor various supplementary material has ever made it into English. And this quiz in particular loves its puns! Keeping the playfulness of its wordplay while coming up with terminologies and spellings was quite the challenge.

Even outside of this particular quiz, localizing the quiz book meant making tweaks and changes to the language where appropriate. Making puns and jokes work in English, and even changing an entire question if it was rooted in knowing Japanese to answer, were some of the creative challenges we had to work through. You can read more about our general thoughts on translating to not alienate English-speaking audiences in our previous blog post!

In sum, the general challenge that presented itself while translating the quiz book as a whole was the amount of research that went into it. Between checking the most minor of terms and quotes, comparing Japanese and English scripts side by side, browsing playthroughs or even playing ourselves to check context, and double-checking everything thoroughly for consistency, it proved to be quite the daunting task. We never could have guessed we would need to be experts on any and all Tales of material that came out before Tales of Destiny 2 just to translate it!

The quiz book in Tales of Destiny 2 is a great way to challenge your knowledge of the titles and may even be the gateway to learning more about them. Did you know that in Tales of Phantasia, when you open the Monster Book, it has a special name in an upper corner that changes depending on how much it’s filled out? Because we sure didn’t! There is also a certain question in the Tales of Destiny quiz where the answer changes depending on the English or Japanese version of the game. Give it a whirl and see if you come out as the next Tales of trivia master!

2 thoughts on “A Test of Trivia: Translating the Quiz

  1. This is giving me good vibes. This feels right.
    You’re doing a great job with this~ Don’t rush it ^^


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