Squid Game has taken the world by storm, topping Netflix’s most-watched lists in dozens of countries around the world. But, if you’re watching with English subtitles, you may be watching Squid Game all wrong.
The show, which was produced in South Korea, centers on a group of down-on-their-luck citizens who are chosen by a mysterious organization to participate in a lethal tournament consisting of various children’s games. There are many nuances within the script, but some of these have not been fairly translated into English – if you’re watching with the wrong translation settings.
Comedian Youngmi Mayer (opens in new tab) took to social media to criticize the Korean-English translation of Squid Game. She points to a scene featuring Han Mi-nyeo (played by Kim Joo-Ryoung), whose dialogue appears to have been changed drastically.
In the segment, the character’s quoted in Netflix’s close captions as saying “I’m not a genius, but I can work it out”, yet the direct translation is: “I am very smart – I just never got a chance to study.”
Change the settings in Netflix, though, from “English [CC]” to “English” in the menu, and the translation now reads: “I never bothered to study, but I’m unbelievably smart.” That’s a much more accurate translation of the original text.
See the comparison between the two settings below, the more accurate one (bottom) being the non-closed caption translation.
How come the “English” and “English [CC]” captions are so different? The “English [CC]” translation comes from the dubbed version of the series – and if you’re watching with English dubs, the voice actor during the above scene reads the line: “I’m not a genius, but I’ve still got it where it counts.”
The “English [CC]” translation is meant as an accessibility option for the English dub of the series, while the English subtitles for the Korean are much more accurate to the original text. Therefore, if you’re watching Squid Game and are looking for an accurate English translation that doesn’t lose the nuances of the script, make sure you have the proper English subtitles on – “English” and not “English [CC]”.