Netflix users criticize the Korean translations “Squid Game” ‘constantly botched’
This week, Netflix’s smash show Squid Game has been in the news for all the right reasons.
However, a lot of social media users have criticized the show for its terrible English translation work of the South Korean series, which is currently Netflix’s number one series and is being dubbed as the streaming platform’s largest show ever.
Youngmi Mayer, a South Korean comedian, and fluent speaker took to social media to trash the translation effort.
In a TikTok video, she explained: “If you don’t understand Korean you didn’t really watch the same show. The dialogue was written so well and zero of it was preserved.”
Referencing the character of Han Mi-nyeo, Mayer said her lines were “constantly botched”, adding that “she cusses a lot and it gets very sterilized.”
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
“She says [in Korean], ‘What are you looking at?’ It’s turned into, ‘Go away [in subtitles].’ Which might seem arbitrary … You’re missing a lot of this character and what she stands for,” said Mayer.
At another point, the subtitle reads, “I’m not a genius, but I can work it out.”
“What she actually said was, ‘I am very smart — I just never got a chance to study.’ That is a huge trope in Korean media: The poor person that’s smart and clever and just isn’t wealthy. That’s a huge part of her character,” explained Mayer.
“The [original Korean] writers, all they want you to know about her is that. It seems so small, but it’s the character’s entire purpose for being in the [expletive] show!” she shared.
“Translators are underpaid and overworked and it’s not their fault. it’s the fault of producers who don’t appreciate the art,” she added.
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