Ottoke! Squid Game Character’s story line botched in Korean-English Translation

Guess it's time to pick up Korean.

American comedian Youngmi Mayer recently tweeted a video of her criticising the most watched series on Netflix, Squid Game’s translation.

The tweet has since garnered 1.3M views and more than 14k retweets.

Show Summary

Squid Game is about debt-ridden individuals lured into a series of childhood game to win total prize money 45.6 billion won (about RM160,000,000).

Since its premiere, Squid Game has gained international popularity. Fans have created memes and shared theories about the TV show.

- Advertisements -

This series has highlighted the realities of social inequalities present around the around. Hence, sparking heated discussion around human nature.

Other than the superb directing by Hwang Dong-hyuk, the fictional characters are also widely scrutinised and analysed by netizens.

Botched Story Line

The South Korean survival drama is Netflix’s most successful non-English language show. However, viewers have noticed significant difference in translation.

Squid game translation allegedly did han mi-nyeo, a female character allied with the gangster group injustices.
A snapshot of the show of character Han Mi-nyeo

- Advertisements -

Mayer said in her tweet that character Mi-nyeo’s dialogue was mistranslated.

The dialogue was written so well and zero of it was preserved.”

To be more specific in Episode 6 – Gganbu, Mayer claims that Mi-nyeo said “I am very smart, I just never got a chance to study.

However, in one scene, the subtitle translation read “I’m not a genius but I can work it out.”

Mayer went on to highlight that Mi-nyeo’s story line did not receive justice.

Reaction to the Video

Many netizens contributed to the discussion in the twitter thread. Some were saying that this is not a new issue and translations were never perfect.

Snapshot of a user’s comment on the twitter thread.

There were also others who pointed out further differences between closed caption and translation.

Snapshot of a user’s comment on the twitter thread

Additionally, there will be cues and details that non-native speaker will overlook.

Mayer’s snapshot of comments of her tiktok video.

Squid Game Translation

It is normal to have meanings lost in translation as languages are not entirely built the same. Not to mention international audience will have their preference regarding whether to read subtitles, or to have voice overs.

- Advertisements -

It’s inevitable for meanings to be lost in translation as each language has been created for individual cultures.

Furthermore, international audience tend to prefer turning on subtitles instead of watching foreign dramas with voice overs.

What do you think, would it have made a difference in your opinion of Mi-nyeo?

Cover Images via twitter

Author: Anna Wong
Proofreader: Grace Choong