‘A spit in the face of every translator who worked tirelessly on the project’—Persona 3 and 4 localisers aren’t in the credits
Persona 3 Portable was released from its PSP shackles last Thursday, and Persona 4 Golden got a sizable update too. Both games—wherever you play them—now have full support for French, Italian, German, and Spanish (FIGS) subtitles, thanks to the work of localisers brave enough to take on the long and wordy games. But now it’s come to light (via Kotaku (opens in new tab)) that the people responsible for actually doing that localisation work have been left out of the final credits, with only senior staff members from Keywords—the localisation company that handled the work—mentioned by name.
The issue came to public attention after tweets by game translator Tamara Morales Gómez (opens in new tab) and Katrina Leonoudakis (opens in new tab), an ex-localisation coordinator at Sega. Leonoudakis, who worked on the P3P and P4G localisation projects until she left Sega last year, tweeted that she had been adamant that everyone involved in the games’ localisations be properly credited when she worked at the company, even mentioning it in her farewell email to the company, but it clearly slipped down the list of priorities after that.
But Leonoudakis told Kotaku that the problem isn’t really with Sega; it’s with Keywords, which she claims prefers to be credited collectively as Keywords Studios, rather than listing each individual localiser by name. That means companies like Sega have to specifically prod the company for full lists in order to ensure that everyone who touched a game’s localisation gets properly credited, which clearly doesn’t always happen. Leonoudakis also claimed that she’s heard tales of Keywords workers being forbidden from speaking out about this practice, and that some of them have felt “low-key threatened” about it.
I’ve reached out to Keywords for comment on these claims, and I’ll update this piece if I hear back.
Regardless of whether or not Keywords has a concrete policy against providing full lists of localisers’ names or not, it’s woefully insufficient to think a blanket credit to the studio as a whole does the same job. Being able to point at your name in the credits of a major release like Persona is a big boost to a CV, so having years of your work ignored in the final product can be a blow to both your professional pride and future prospects.
Persona is far from the only game that’s drawn attention for failing to credit its workers recently. Devs on The Callisto Protocol, who worked under crunch conditions to get the game out the door, also found themselves erased from the game’s credits (opens in new tab) in the last couple of months. Even the co-creator of The Last of Us made the news recently when he complained of being left out of the HBO show’s credits (opens in new tab), though I have to imagine he’ll have an easier time getting future work than the Callisto devs and Persona localisers.