While doing research yesterday, I found the localization development logs for Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King on The Cutting Room Floor. The logs are fascinating because you can see the back-and-forth between the people working on the project. Here’s an example of the devs trying to come up with a good description for a weapon while keeping it within the 18 character limit:
// ALTJ, jul12: I don’t like this wording, but “A weapon that puts enemies to sleep” is way over the limit.
// ALTJ, jul20: This appears to refer to the dream blade.
// WILL, jul22: How about the more ambiguous, “a sleepy weapon”? Or is that too obscure? Or even “a boring weapon”!!!??? It might make people think!
// MORGAN, jul25: I really don’t like “sleeper”. I would prefer “a sedative sword”, “a tiring weapon”.
// ALTJ, jul27: Changed.
a tiring weapon
You can find the whole log over here! It’s pretty long, so I recommend reading it during some lunch breaks or something~