Persona 3 and Persona 4 translators not included in game credits

Screenshot: Persona 4

When Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Gold were released on new platforms last week, a lot was done due to the fact that the latter was going to show French, Italian, German and Spanish subtitles for the first time. This was great news for European fans, but the people who are most responsible for this achievement are not getting what they deserve.

Last week, Katrina Leonudakis, a former Sega localization coordinator who left the company in 2022 (and now works on television), sounded the alarm that the FIGS (French, Italian, German and Spanish) translation team she worked with was not fully recognized for their work on the games.

These commands did not work directly at the Sega publishers; instead, they were contractors and employees of Keywords Studios, an outsourcing company that handled game localization duties. Only the highest ranking employees in Keywords are included in game credits, not the actual employees responsible for localization.

“The translators, editors, and other localization specialists who created the French, Italian, German, and Spanish localizations of the P3P and P4G ports are not counted,” Leonudakis tells me. “These individuals were employees and/or contractors of Keywords Studios, a language services provider that SEGA of America hired to localize FIGS. I was the localization coordinator for this game at SEGA from 2021 until my departure in July 2022; Part of my job included keeping in touch with the FIGS teams, answering their localization related questions, and relaying any questions/comments to the Japanese developers.”

She says this isn’t a problem for Sega, which, to their credit, takes “internal steps during credit creation to ensure that anyone touched by the game is represented in the credits, even reaching out to each person to make sure their name is spelled correctly. . Rather, she says that the fault lies with the keywords themselves. “Keywords has a ‘policy’ of not listing any contractors or localizers working on the project, preferring to be listed as ‘Localization by Keywords Studios’,” says Leonudakis. “Unless the manufacturer SEGA or the Japanese developers tell the keywords that they MUST list their contractors, they will not share that information.”

These are the only people credited with the Italian localization of Persona 4 Golden, although it took a whole team to actually translate and rewrite the dialogue.

These are the only people credited with the Italian localization of Persona 4 Golden, although it took a whole team to actually translate and rewrite the dialogue.
Screenshot: Persona 4

“Keywords contractors have told me that they are ‘forbidden to talk about lending’ and ‘restrictedly threatened’ about it,” she says. “Sometimes they trust their project managers, but not contractors, who actually write the texts that FIGS players read to play and enjoy the game. Given that Persona is an extremely conversational and narrative game, localization is critical to the gameplay experience for FIGS players.”

Keywords did not respond to a request for comment on these rules and omissions.

Leonudakis chose this moment to speak because she was fed up with what has become a template in the AAA games industry. “Localization teams can work on these games for months or years, often getting very little, down to nothing,” she says. “Not only is this morally wrong, but it prevents translators and localizers from finding work later. If you can’t prove you did all the translations for a AAA game, how can you put that on your resume?

This is the same argument used throughout the industry and we have written extensively about it.. People who are critical to the release of a great video game are not included in its credits. all time, for various reasons, from a petty game of power to an administrative oversight. Whatever the excuses, the result is the same: people who spent years of their lives working on the game are missing out on the public acclaim (and professional recognition) they deserve.

“Unfortunately, translators are still almost invisible,” says Leonudakis. “A good translation is impeccable and is not perceived by the reader as a translation at all. That’s why it’s all the more important to give credit to the translators, writers, and localizers who localize games. If game developers want to profit from the regions they localize their games for, at least they can give credit to the people who made all this profit possible.”

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