Viewers have been completely obsessed with Squid Game – and it’s easy to see why. The hugely popular Korean drama follows a group of cash-strapped individuals who unwittingly opt into playing children’s games for a huge cash prize – not realising that they will be killed if they lose the game.
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English-speaking fans have been either watching it with subtitles or dubbed in English – but a viewer has pointed out a major problem with the translations.
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TikTok user @youngmimayer created a video, which has gone on to receive 2.7 million likes, revealing that the English subtitles are sometimes very different to the Korean, and suggested that it drastically changes several elements of the show. Warning, mild spoilers ahead for up to episode six.
Mi-Nyeo's dialogue is very different to the English subtitles
She explained: “I noticed that you’re missing so much from the English subtitles… Mi-Nyeo… her dialogue constantly gets botched… she cusses a lot and it gets very sterilised. Randomly even things that aren’t even that bad, like here she says, ‘What are you looking at?’ gets translated into, ‘Go away’.
She continued: “[This] which might seem arbitrary but everything she says is not really aligning and so you’re missing a lot of this character and what she stands for.”
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Showing a clip from the show, she explained: “Here she is trying to convince people to play the game with her, the translation says, ‘Oh I’m not a genius, but I can work it out,’ but 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 who is smart and clever but just isn’t wealthy. That’s a huge part of her character… all the writers want you to know about her is that! It seems so small but it’s the character’s entire purpose of being in the show.”
A key scene loses out on meaning
She also highlighted the moment that Gi-Hun and Il-Nam are discussing being best pals before discovering that the game will only leave one of them alive, explaining: “They missed a really small line, but it’s the point of the whole episode… what it translates into is ‘There is no ownership between me and you’, not, ‘We share everything’. That is a huge miss. That is the entire point of this episode. It’s a very small sentence but [without it] it doesn’t make sense. It’s such a difference in ideology that the writer is getting across to you.”
Viewers were quick to comment, with one writing: "Class consciousness being stamped out lazily," while another added: "Now I'm going to question every single translation I've ever read from kdramas and webtoons. So much context missed out on."
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