Small Details You Might've Missed From 'Squid Game' That Were Lost In Translation
Since @youngmimayer shared her issues with the Korean translation of Netflix's hit Squid Game, the internet has been fiercely debating its English subtitles (though some realized that there's a difference even between the English and the English [CC] subtitles).
Because of these differences, there might be a couple of things non-Koreans might have missed out on from reading just the translations of Squid Game. Keep reading to find out some interesting ones!
- 1193 VOTES
North Korean Accent
This is not a specific translation.
Many Korean viewers will immediately notice that Sae-byeok speaks in a North Korean accent and immediately pick up that she's a North Korean. When she's around the other Squid Game players, she attempts to mask her account - although some still pick up on her secret.
- 2249 VOTES
Call Me Hyung
그럼 그냥 형이라고 해
English translation: "Then just call me Sang-woo."
Literal translation: "Then just call me older brother."
In Korea, there are honorifics people use to refer to others based on age, gender, and social status. Most people don't call each other by their names unless they are close friends at a similar age.
For example, there are specific words to call an older brother, older sister, younger brother, and younger sister. These words also depend on which gender you - the speaker - identify as.
This moment is particularly important because Sang-woo tells Ali to call him "hyung" - the word for older brother from a younger brother. In Korean slang, you don't necessarily have to be related, but it's always an honor to have someone tell you to call them "hyung."
For most of the show, Ali calls Sang-woo "sir." The transition into "hyung" represents a big step in the relationship between Sang-woo and Ali, especially since Ali has been an outsider for so long.
This also makes it a lot worse when Ali is calling Sang-woo "hyung" as he realizes Sang-woo betrayed him.
- 3160 VOTES
Literal translation: Daybreak.
Gi-hun tells Sae-byeok than her name doesn't really suit her because the name means "daybreak," and she doesn't seem like the sunniest person.
- 4223 VOTES
The Hibiscus Flower Has Bloomed
무궁화 꽃 이 피었 습니다
English translation: "Red Light, Green Light"
Literal translation: "The hisbiscus flower has bloomed."
The hibiscus flower (mugunghwa) is the national flower of South Korea; it symbolizes the Korean noble spirit and perseverance through struggle. The first episode of Squid Game is literally translated as "The day the mugunghwa blossomed," which points viewers to the fact that the show is a social commentary. However, the English title of the first episode is "Red Light, Green Light."
- 5138 VOTES
What Are You Looking At?
English [CC] translation: "Go away."
Literal translation: "What are you looking at?"
Though a minor line, the literal Korean translation is "What are you looking at?", which even in English is a threatening dare. The English [CC] translation washes down Mi-nyeo's personality.
- 6157 VOTES
공부를 안 해서 그렇지
머리는 장난 아니라니까
English [CC] translation: "I'm not a genius, but I still got it worked out."
Literal translation: "I never got the chance to study. But my mind is no joke."
A major theme in Korean society is smart people not getting the chance to study. When Mi-nyeo tries to get a partner for the marbles game, she tells Gi-hun that her mind is "no joke," ultimately reaffirming her character as a smart but disadvantaged player.