Before I get to the example, though, I should fill you in on the format of the test. Basically, I was sent an Excel sheet divided into three sections: miscellaneous, short dialogue, and long dialogue (today's example comes from the short dialogue section). In each section, I was given the original Japanese text and a "raw translation", which was representative of a first attempt at translation by someone else that I needed to spruce up, if necessary. Some of the raw translations were already correct, some were essentially correct but awkwardly phrased, and some seemed correct but were actually mistranslations of the original text.
One of the hardest parts of this format was that I wasn't given context for any of the lines that I had to correct, since I was seeing them in Excel rather than the games themselves. As inconvenient as this was, it's something that I would have had to deal with on the job: according to XSEED's localization blog, "When you’re editing a game’s script, which usually comes to you as a batch of Excel files (sometimes with a Japanese build of the game handy for reference, but only sometimes) it’s not always easy to tell where in the game a particular line will appear, which other lines will appear around it, or even, at times, what the line is referring to."
With that in mind, let's get to today's example:
When you're localizing a video game for another country's audience, the most accurate translation isn't always the best translation. Even though XSEED could probably rely on its customer base of niche Japanese game players to be familiar with more common Japanese words like honorifics put at the end of characters' names, I wouldn't expect the majority of them to have heard the term rubi - I studied Japanese for four and a half years as a major in college, and had never once heard the term ruby text, let alone rubi. We just called it furigana, the Japanese word for the same thing.
Furigana is a word that I'd be slightly more confident in XSEED's customer base to be familiar with, but it's still not the kind of word that is commonly used in anime, so I would still be very hesitant to use a literal translation in this case. Instead, it would be better to try to make a substitution for another word that would make just as much sense when placed in the same place in the dialogue. In this case, we would need another term for something that seems like it could answer the question of "what's written in a book, but outside of the text", but is actually incorrect because it's still technically in the text, unlike page numbers.
Well, shit. There isn't really anything that fits that bill, is there? The closest that I could come up with was "footnotes", but that would be confusing because although the supertext number directing you to the footnote would work for the purposes of the riddle, the actual footnote would be outside of the margin of the text, and therefore a correct answer to the riddle. We need a wrong answer.
So now we've got a situation in which we have an untranslatable word that can't be replaced by another word that fits the conversation in the same way. So what do we do? We can't replace the word, and we can't leave it untranslated - what other options are there?
We have to change the entire riddle.
The first thing to note is that the new dialogue have to follow the same flow as the original, so that it still fits into the game the same way. That means that it needs to follow the following format: