That makes my brain hurt. Very much improper use of the word "pointer"! You're streaming the text from ROM either way; the only difference is how it's represented in VRAM.
With a tiled font, you have the entire font stored in VRAM. Each font tile is indexed along these lines
. A lot of people don't understand the relationship between tiles and their hexadecimal representation... Anyway, elsewhere in VRAM, you have a tilemap, a complete index of every tile in a given layer on the screen. If you wanted to write the word "CAT" to the screen in Journey to Silius (see above) you'd write 0C 0A 1D into the tilemap, along with whatever other necessary data goes into the tilemap (palette index rotation data on the SNES, for example).
With a VWF, you're just drawing a picture of the text. You still have a regular font stored in the ROM, but it just grabs it one letter at a time, does a shift, then paints it into VRAM. It still tilemaps it - with nothing written into the tilemap, you wouldn't have anything to display - but it might write something like 00 01 02 03 for a string that, once rendered, only takes up four tiles.
Wynd, correct me if I'm wrong, but you still don't even have a grasp on text pointers, yes? In other words, you're currently limited to how long the strings are in the games you work on. Let me tell you, there are two types of "space" you need to consider when it comes to translation hacking - ROM space and screen space. Your capability to store longer strings in the game you're working on is a ROM space issue. The capability to list a word in an interface that's longer than the developers originally planned is a screen space
issue. Having a VWF will make your text nice and pretty, and might help you fit "Shield of Faith" into a space that used to only accomodate eight letters
, but it's not going to help you with storage at all, and it's frankly one of the more advance topics particular to our field. No disrespect, but please, learn to walk before you try to run.
"Clearing out the Japanese script" as you put it will help with your ROM space troubles, provided you know about text pointers. VWFs are really really nice to have, but are generally a nice aesthetic touch more than anything else.