Squid Game’s Subtitles Have Some Fans Confused

Netflix is facing backlash for how they have handled the translation of the popular Korean thriller drama, Squid Game.

Credit: Netflix

Squid Game is now number one on the Netflix charts around the world. With this fame, however, many Korean speakers have pointed out that the subtitles are not entirely accurate in their translation. Twitter user, Young Mi Mayer, created a thread outlining some of the mistakes that the translations had.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

One such example was when Mi Nyeo (Player 212) is trying to get a partner for the fourth games. She is translated as telling Gi Hoon (Player 456) “I’m not a genius but I still got it worked out. Huh?”. What she actually said, though, was “I’m very smart, I just never got a chance to study”. Mayer said how this got rid of a very popular Korean media trope, where a character is very smart and cunning, but not wealthy enough to be taken seriously/study. She goes on to say that the line displayed a big part of the character’s image and that the subtitles did not do a good job of portraying her at all.

Another mistranslation in that episode was when Il Nam (Player 001) is explaining to Gi Hoon what a gganbu is. Instead of saying “We [gganbu] share everything”, the actual translation was “Gganbu, there is no ownership between me and you”. Mayer says:

It’s a really small line there, but it’s literally the whole point of the episode… That is a huge miss. It’s a very small sentence but now it doesn’t even make sense. There’s such a difference in ideology that the writer is trying to get across to you.

One last mistranslation was found by Andrew Minghee Kim (@akimillustrates) when Sang Woo (Player 218) is talking with his mother.

Should I still watch Squid Game with Netflix’s translation?

Credit: Netflix

While some users noticed that the subtitles were more accurate in the English translation, versus the English CC, the drama’s translation still missed some key points. Ultimately, users blamed Netflix producers for underpaying and overworking translators, with tight deadlines and little to no time to provide a proper translation, especially with the show’s Korean context.

Overall, these mistranslations showed that Netflix’s production did a bad job in attempting to present the drama’s unique message. While you should DEFINITELY still watch the show anyway, don’t be afraid to look up some online translations, or even have Google Translate on hand!

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