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A woman who is fluent in both English and Korean has claimed the English subtitles in Netflix's Squid Game are terrible and haven't 'preserved the amazing dialogue'. Hear what she has to say below:
Squid Game is the hottest thing on the planet right now, with the Korean TV show being number one in every country Netflix is showing it in.
That's no small feat and it's catapulted the actors into global stardom seemingly overnight.
However, Korean-speaking viewers have claimed the English translation for the subtitles are 'terrible' and unsuspecting people are actually missing out on interesting or important details.
Comedian and writer Youngmi Mayer is one of those people and she recently took to TikTok to air her frustrations after watching the show and seeing the translation pop up at the bottom of the screen.
i want to do a scene breakdown on tiktok to show you what they could've translated to i might work on it today just so you can see what i mean and see what you missed. such a shame. translation is extremely important.
- youngmi mayer (@ymmayer) September 30, 2021
Being fluent in both English and Korean, Ms Mayer was shocked to see so many things get missed by the translators.
She wrote on Twitter: "If you don't understand Korean you didn't really watch the same show. Translation was so bad. The dialogue was written so well and zero of it was preserved.
"The reason this happens is because translation work is not respected and also the sheer volume of content. translators are underpaid and overworked and it's not their fault.
"It's the fault of producers who don't appreciate the art."
She points out how Han Mi-nyeo's (Player 212) dialogue is constantly messed up in the show and pointed to one scene where she says 'what are you looking at' and the subtitles say 'go away'.
While it's not massive in terms of plot development, it does end up giving you a warped understanding of what is happening.
Ms Mayer also mentioned a different scene where the subtitles botch Han Mi-nyeo pleading for help and omit a small detail of her being poor but really smart, which she says is a really strong character trope in Korean films and television.
Interestingly, other viewers have found strange disparities with the subtitles.
One person on Twitter wrote: "Me and my flatmate both watched Squid Game on two different laptops and our English subtitles were different. The distinctions were subtle but even that made it feel like we were watching different shows.
Another person said: "I also watched it in Korean and as a multi-lingual speaker with translation and subtitling experience I just noticed a lot of messy areas and it was so basic. I also (just to see what it was like) started to watched the dubbed version- it was worse."
Closed-captions are usually based off the dubbed version of the script and are often different to the source language because of the need to align those subtitles with the character's mouths.
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