Korean Language Professor Breaks Down Squid Game’s Subtitles | WIRED

The on-screen English translations of ‘Squid Game’ didn’t always match up to the characters’ dialogue. Korean English professor and director of the Korean Language Program at Columbia University, Joowon Suh, is here to explain the phrases English speakers might have missed out on while watching the hit Netflix show.

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48 Comments

  1. Hangeul is the language of Koreans who can swear with the most diverse expressions that exist on Earth.
    This is something that even foreigners who have learned Korean can sympathize with.
    "Hangul," which can translate all emotions that people can express into writing and words

    – Professor Ry Shower of Harvard University in the United States
    "There are no letters better than Korean."

    – John Mann, British cultural scholar
    "Hangul is the best alphabet that all languages dream of," he explained.

    "Hangul" is great and easy to learn
    The reason why "Hangul" is so great is because
    This is because of the mind of King Sejong, the fourth king of Joseon, who created Hangeul.
    1443… His love for the pure and beautiful people who created "Hangeul" for the people who are persecuted and damaged because they do not know the text makes Hangul even greater.

  2. Can Netflix update the show with improved subtitles?, Verified by South Korea? I want the full experience, no filter

  3. Shoutout to the professor who is able to articulate her thoughts better than native speakers!! Legend.

  4. Squid Game was actually many times better for Korean speakers than non-Korean speakers.

  5. Thank you for this. A huge thank you to this lady!

  6. Apparently Squid Game is the sequel to
    'Lost in Translation' 😂

  7. She made great explanations and descriptions about the unique Korean terms that are not very translatable in English. I had hard times explaining some Korean terms to my foreigner friends too, but she explained them to easily and precisely! Respect her with my full heart.

  8. I upload videos about Korean culture and Hangeul, korean language every day! If you want to know about Korea, I'll help you. Hah~😊👌 새해 복 많이 받으세요🎵🎁

  9. I speak Japanese (not fluent) and in shows, there are things that aren’t translated totally well done. But I can tell when certain words aren’t right or lines are missing something. I’m an English native speaker if anyone is curious.

  10. Being a chinese I can immediately find the accurate term in Chinese after her explanation. There is so much commonality in east Asian culture. We also use the big brother term to call someone who look after you when you are new. And that cursing term baby animal is 小崽子, we also use that alot in Chinese. That Ali scene is just the saddest moment I've seen for a very long time.

  11. Well, at least in ENG they translated 오빠 to "baby", in PL (polish) CC it was "DADDY"….
    Yeah… DADDY! You heard me! Can you believe it? I still can't!

    One of the poorest translations of a Korean drama I have ever watched.

  12. so basically, watch a few kdramas before watching squid game😂

  13. As someone who's bilingual and a native speaker of both languages, I feel so bad for Americans/other English speakers bc they will never truly experience the depth and intensity of certain shows and movies bc they don't understand the language and the context behind it. A true shame.

  14. 4:21 I am glad the linguist discusses cursing words too. 😅Cursing words are the most important words in any language 😂

  15. Why sanitize the translations at all? This is a show about a friggin DEATH GAME

  16. I am today years old until I learned “Oppa” is family term word

  17. 한글여행(Learn Korean with language comparison) says:

    재밌게 봤습니다.

  18. Wow, now I feel even more sad about Ali's fate, THANKS A LOT

  19. In my 20yr old life, I couldn't expect it to be better in this world to be born Korean and to learn english rather than speaking just english. Most proud moment ever for being korean

    (it's horribly difficult for English speakers to learn Korean language, thus in reverse it works the same. Don't ask me how and why I know that.)

  20. Social hierarchy ever so present in those names. Lovely.

  21. Social hierarchy ever so present in those adress terms. Lovely.

  22. They should be way more careful or fix it now .. so if we see it again we know the translation better

  23. I hate it when subtitles do not match the sound- If your deaf you may never know it was changed or like myself until I saw this video if its in another language you may not get the full meaning

  24. This made me respect the other elements of the show so much more, because where the translation fails, the music, direction, acting, cinematography ect makes up for it to help you understand. Flawless show.

  25. Even her translation is not perfect we say oppa to just a friend too, who is older than you(women to men).

  26. Cách hát của đức phúc luôn làm hài lòng tất cả mn.

  27. I like the overall theme about how you can never translate something 100 percent because words and phrases often don't have literal translations. It reminds me of another Netflix show, Narcos: Mexico. Not only do the Mexican characters speak Spanish, they speak (obviously) Mexican Spanish. So reading the subtitles was often funny. For example, Diego Luna's character, Felix Gallardo said something like, "Tú eres el más chingón."

    The translation said, "You're the best."

    The meaning sort of got across, but the full spirit of the phrase did not. Even a literal translation would not have made sense to a non-Spanish speaker, so "You're the best" was the only real way to translate it.

  28. So could you please provide an alternative translations for those points you have mentioned without…elaborating, and within the translation restriction that Netflix enforces on their translators :/?

  29. You can watch others langugae with Eng sub or people speak English with different accent with Eng sub

  30. Like John Wick, henchmen speaks Russian and Italian and it has Eng sub color

  31. 2:33 i would honestly go back to watch this show just for that scene, so heartbreaking 😿

  32. It's true the translation cannot convey all the cultural nuance, but Professor Suh does not have an alternative translation, so this is not a fair criticism of the translations. I think the translator did a good job finding culturally equivalent terms, as the translator does not have time to explain the culture and the viewer wouldn't know what it means if the translation says sajangnim or hyung. Suh should have just said that in any English translation, something could be lost because it is hard to explain the cultural nuance.

  33. I lived 25 years in Korea and 25 years in US. It's not just these technical and cultural differences. There were flat out bad translations. Many of them. One example is Ji-Yeong's final words which were "Thank you… for partnering with me" But one translation said "I'm honored…" That's translator wanting to be a writer.
    Another K-Drama Kingdom on the other hand had very very good translations. The director of Squid Game needs to hire that translator for season 2.

  34. I think she should've also explained the 선물 vs Gift. When Sang-Woo explains to Gi-Hun about how he's 600mil in dept, he says he did "Futures". But he actually said he did "Seon-Mul". Which in Korean stock market term means "Stock Futures". But "Seon-Mul" also means "Gift" in everyday Korean. So Gi-Hun's response originally was "You bought that much worth of gift to your girlfriend?" This entire dialogue was translated completely differently for obvious reason.

  35. I’m so glad I understand those subtleties, even though I don’t know Korean well (not even enough to really get around). It was really cool to spot the differences in how I translated them in my head, and it helped me understand the characters better. Language, context, and cultures are amazing!

  36. So, was the analysis of the subtitles or of the closed captioning?
    The closed captioning was pointed to at the beginning, but the entire video refers to subtitles, and these aren't the same thing.
    Subtitles are closest approximation translations edited for space and context.
    Closed captioning is just the written form of the English dubbing.
    So which was actually analyzed? The subs or the CC?

  37. I know that the marbles episode is the most popular example for "hyung". But it's also worth noting that Sang-woo calls Gi-hun "hyung" before he kills himself.

  38. 이런 문맥에 담긴 의미를 알기 매우 어려운데도, 외국인들이 열광한게 참 대단함. 교수님 설명 진짜 잘하시네.

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