Speaking as a translator, it's a pain in the ass to go through and transcribe the text in a game. I did it a few times when I was a newbie, but never again. I personally won't work on a project if the hacker can't get me a script dump.
Understood, though like EarlJ said, I'm really talking about situations where there isn't a hacker yet. I wouldn't expect a translator (i.e. someone with real Japanese language skills) to transcribe the game text themselves.
But would someone else's
transcription (partial or full) be of interest at all? Or is it the kind of thing where if a ROM hacker isn't already on board and hasn't already dumped the full script, you're not interested in getting involved?
I guess it all comes down to "If you're interested in playing a game in English, but don't have the hacking skills to do it yourself, how do you help get the ball rolling? What can you do that would actually be helpful?" And maybe the answer is "You don't, and nothing."
But I'd like to think that having some part of a translation "in the can" might make a project more attractive to prospective hackers (especially since a lot of projects stall because they don't have a translator on board). And having a partial transcription would, in turn, give a translator something to begin working on. And there are a lot of people like me who aren't qualified as translators, but have enough Japanese-language ability to at least make a transcription, look up kanji, and so forth.
Actually, how do script dumpers handle kanji? I understand how they deal with kana, since that's reasonably standardized. But if you're dumping a script and don't speak Japanese -- and there's no appropriate pre-existing table file -- wouldn't a transcription be helpful, since you'd be able to just copy the relevant kanji from the transcription into your table (rather than dealing with radical lookup tables or OCR)? Or is there some newer, shinier way of dealing with it that I don't know about?