I have, let’s say, some big issues with XSEED’s staff and how they handle criticism of their localizations, but otherwise they do tend to have the best localizations of the companies in this space.
NISA has sorta gotten increasingly worse about this. I find the fact that they’re retranslating this encouraging, but this is only one game and it was a big release that got a lot of attention due to a combination of that and how significant the issues are. Plenty of their other games are also translated badly, but in subtler ways that just seem slightly wonky to people (like me) without understanding of Japanese and that need someone familiar with the JP release to point out what the actual issues are. Danganronpa V3, for example, had 4 different translator+editor teams that split the game by character which is a pretty bad sign of the game being rushed to begin with, and apparently has some weird character choices differing from the original Japanese (Gonta supposedly didn’t speak like a caveman?) along with mistranslations and other such things.
Meanwhile you have Aksys. I’ve actually been buying much less games released by them than I used to for no particular reason, but they’ve been putting out a decent number of otome games the past few years (with a ton on the way next year), and I’ve been playing some of them lately. While the translation does not seem outright bad, and I’ve enjoyed playing them a ton, they seem to be rushed and marred by a lack of a final QA pass. It’s always deflating to be waiting for a game for months, have the game ship and be on its way to you, and start seeing forum posts and tweets talking about how the number of weird errors, characters using the default name instead of input ones, inconsistencies with how characters talk to and address each other across routes, outright mistranslations, etc. and that’s what happened for me with Collar x Malice when that came out earlier this year. I was able to enjoy the game a lot still, but the issues were definitely noticeable and seemed to be largely avoidable, but weren’t given the chance to be fixed. They will very likely never be patched due to the cost of doing so, and the only hope for improving these games is that in some cases they have PS4 ports which might have edited/redone translations.
All of this just makes me sad as someone who plays a lot of games that were not originally written in English and who is very interested in the process of localization. This game getting an improved translation is an exception, but translations needing to be improved are unfortunately not. For most games, there will only ever be one translation, and if it’s a game you were really looking forward to and it wasn’t handled well, that’s it. You will forever have an inferior game to the original Japanese release, and the more you like the game, the more that hurts.
And frustratingly, people do not care about this, even when told about it, because most of the time it’s serviceable enough and they got the game they wanted to play. So we’re stuck with what we get, because there is absolutely no pressure to do better due to players being complacent with whatever gets released, as long as it doesn’t produce any fun memes like “Big Hole”. And there needs to be that pressure, especially as in cases like the Aksys games I mentioned the blame is clearly less on their localization team and more on the JP side of things pressuring them to get the games out fast without time to do more QA. Without criticism, there will be nothing that they can present as evidence to get more time to work with for future games, and so on. At least when it comes to those otome games, the players are usually pretty good about both caring about and listing/presenting errors in a calm though critical manner, which is very encouraging and could potentially mean improvements in the future.
But, in general, that’s not going to happen because people are far more likely to get outright enraged about the slightest bit of localization (often legitimately good localization!) that they perceive as censorship, while eating up translations with far more serious issues without the slightest bit of criticism, and that’s so disappointing.