when Persona 3 Portable And Persona 4 Golden It was released on new platforms last weekMuch was said by the fact that, for the first time ever, the latter was to feature French, Italian, German and Spanish subtitles. That was great news for European fans, but the people most responsible for this feat are not getting the credit they deserve.
Last week, Katerina Leonoudakis, a former localization coordinator at Sega who left the company in 2022 (And now works on television), I sounded the alarm that the FIGS translation team (French, Italian, German and Spanish) I worked with were not given full credit for their work on the games.
Those teams were not directly employed by Sega’s publishers; Instead, they were contractors and employees of Words Studios, an outsourcing company that handles game localization tasks. In the credits for the games, only the senior staff are included in the keywords, not the actual workers responsible for the localization.
“The people who are excluded are the translators, editors, and other translation professionals who have created French, Italian, German, and Spanish translations for P3P and P4G outlets,” Leonoudakis told me. These people were employees of and/or under contract with Words Studios, a language service provider hired by SEGA of America to produce the localization of FIGS. I was the localization coordinator for this title at SEGA from 2021 until my departure in July 2022; part of my job involved staying in touch with the teams. FIGS, answering localization-related questions about the project and relaying any questions/concerns to the Japanese developers.”
She says this isn’t an issue with Sega, who to their credit make “internal steps during credit creation to ensure anyone who’s touched a title is represented in the credits, even reaching out to every individual to make sure their name is spelled right”. Rather, she says the blame here lies with Keywords themselves. “Keywords has a ‘policy’ not to credit any contractors or localizers that work on a project, preferring to be credited as ‘Localization produced by Keywords Studios’, Leonoudakis says. “Unless SEGA’s producer, or Japanese developers, tell Keywords specifically that they MUST credit their contractors, they will not pass that information along.”
“I’ve been told by contractors who work at Keywords that they have been ‘forbidden to speak out about crediting’ and ‘low-key threatened’ about it”, she says. “They do sometimes credit their Project Managers, but not the contractors who actually write the text FIGS players read to play and enjoy the game. Given that Persona is an extremely dialogue and narrative-heavy game, the localization is crucial to the game experience for FIGS players.”
Keywords has not responded to a request for comment on these policies and omissions,.
Leonoudakis chose this moment to speak up because she’s fed up with what has become a pattern in the AAA games industry. “Localization teams may work on these games for months or years, often being paid very little, to zero credit”, she says. “Not only is it morally wrong, but it makes it harder for translators and localization professionals to find work later. If you can’t prove you did all the translation for a triple-A game, how can you put it on your resume?”.
This is the same argument being made across the industry, and something We wrote about it extensively. People who are important to a major video game release are excluded from the credits for that game All the time, for a variety of reasons, from minor power games to administrative oversight. Whatever the excuse, the result is the same: the people who have spent years of their lives working to bring you a game are missing out on the public thanks (and professional recognition) they deserve.
“Unfortunately, the translators are still more or less invisible,” says Leonoudakis. “A good translation is smooth, and doesn’t read like a subtitle at all to the reader. That’s why it’s so important to give credit to the translators, writers, and localization staff who create game localization. If game developers want to capitalize on the areas they’re localizing their games for, then The least they can do is give credit to the people who made all this profit possible.”
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