Netflix has significantly stepped up its international and non-English production efforts, many of which have been successful across language barriers. Squid Game is the latest in this trend, after other hits like La casa de papel. However, a fan of The Squid Game reveals that the series’ English subtitles do not faithfully follow the true meaning of the Korean dialogue, something that would completely change the meaning of key scenes.
The TikTok user Youngmimayer, who is fluent in both languages in question, notes that many sequences “get screwed up,” including those of Mi Nyeo and Oh Il Nam. Although most of the translation errors are minor, some lines do not capture the exact context.
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An example is when Mi Nyeo tries to convince others to play with her. The English subtitles say, “I’m not a genius, but I can figure it out,” while in reality what it should be is, “I’m very smart, I just never had a chance to study.” Although it may seem like a minor change, Youngmimayer says that this modification subtracted the essential of the character’s story.
“That is a big problem in the Korean media. The poor person who is smart and cunning and just not rich. That is a big part of your profile. Almost everything you have said is mistranslated, but you’ve missed everything the writer wants you to know about her. It seems so small, but it is the purpose of the whole character to be in the series ”, specified the tiktoker.
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Another vital scene is when Oh Il Nam says “gganbu” while talking to Seong Gi-hun. The subtitle translated the Korean term as “we share everything”, which should be “there is no ownership between you and me”. These seemingly minor lines contain deeper meanings in the Korean language that foreign viewers do not see because their transition to English is not accurate.