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Korean Experts Break Down The Translation Issues From Squid Game

Tom Wood

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Korean Experts Break Down The Translation Issues From Squid Game

If you are one of the millions of people worldwide who have been enjoying Squid Game recently, you might be interested to know that some people believe that you've not been getting the whole message correctly. You can see their take on what viewers are missing out on below:


So obviously, the show is from South Korea, and therefore most people are watching it with subtitles, or with dubbed audio.

However, you're very much at the mercy of the translators by that stage and some of the people who actually speak Korean say that there are some parts of the show that are lost.

One such person, who goes by the name of Youngmi Mayer, explained what's going on over on Twitter.

She said: "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."

In a video shared about the show, she explained how certain characters - in this case, a 'low-class gangster' character - are represented differently in the translation.

For example, at one point the subtitles read 'I'm not a genius but I can work it out', whereas the actual Korean was 'I'm very smart I just didn't get a chance to study'.

That's important, apparently, because it's the 'entire purpose' of the character, and represents a trope of Korean culture, according to Youngmi.

Anyway, it's been a wildly successful show, so perhaps they'll be able to update it with different translations at a later date.

Not everyone thinks it's so rubbish, though.

Euijin Seo, a Korean language teacher, told Buzzfeed that you can't exactly call it 'bad', as: "All dialogues in the show are extremely Korean-ish, reflecting Korean culture,"

He continued: "The process of translation must have been tough because there are tons of terms in Korean that cannot be directly translated into English."

So, there's obviously nuances of the dialogue that we're not getting, but essentially the show is the same regardless of the translation.

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

Why would Netflix deliberately make the show different for different cultures, after all?

Either way, it's the biggest show in the world just now, so they're probably not too worried about the issues that some folks have with the translation.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: TV and Film, Netflix, Squid Game

Tom Wood
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