Squid Game is on its way to becoming Netflix‘s most-watched production in the history of the streaming platform, as over 84 million viewers have watched the dystopian thriller series. As the K-Drama continues with its rise in views and its incredible international reach, one TikTok user has called out some of the translation misses in a few scenes.
A few days ago, TikToker @youngmimayer uploaded a video regarding some of the strange translation errors that she witnessed while watching Squid Game. In this particular video, she breaks down a scene with the character Han Mi Nyeo, the single mother who is rough around the edges given her “low-class status.” According to Youngmi Mayer, while Han Mi Nyeo is a little “gangster” and curses like a sailor, it all gets “sterilized” in the translations.
Youngmi Mayer started off her video with one that “may seem more arbitrary,” but she states that viewers are still “missing a lot of the character and what she stands for.”
In one of the scenes, Han Mi Nyeo looks at a guard and says “뭘 봐,” which was translated into “go away” by Netflix’s closed captioning service (CC). However, Youngmi Mayer shares that the translation is not accurate, as the Squid Game character is actually saying, “What are you looking at?”
While the first scene didn’t bother Youngmi Mayer as much, it was the following scene that she was the source of her frustrations. She believes it lost a lot of meaning with Netflix’s CC translation.
In the sixth episode of the series, the participants of Squid Game were given the task to assemble into pairs to play a game of marbles. Han Mi Nyeo, who had given herself a bad reputation at this point in the series, had a hard time partnering up with someone. As she frantically ran around trying to find people to team up with, she found herself sucking up to Seong Gi Hun — and it was what she said during this very scene that Youngmi Mayer broke down the mistranslation.
The English translation says, ‘I’m not a genius, but I can work it out.’ What she actually said was, ‘I’m very smart, I just never got a chance to study.’
That is a huge trope in Korean media. The poor person that is clever and smart, but isn’t wealthy. That is a huge part of her [Han Mi Nyeo] character. Everything she says, is being botched […] all the writers want you to know about her, is that.
— Youngmi Mayer @youngmimayer/TikTok
Youngmi Mayer shared an additional scene she believed also had a big mistranslation, even though it was just “a small line.” The scene in question was also during the marble game episode when characters Oh Il Nam and Seong Gi Hun were partnered up to play. It was during the scene when Oh Il Nam was explaining the concept of gganbu — which means a close friend or teammate.
During this scene, Youngmi Mayer dove into the line “깐부, 니꺼 내꺼 없이.” While the streaming platform translated it as “you share things with them,” she revealed the true meaning of this one sentence.
‘깐부, 니꺼 내꺼 없이.’ What that translates into is, ‘There’s no ownership between me and you,’ not ‘We share everything.’ That is a huge miss. That is the entire point of this f*cking episode. It’s a very small sentence, but now it doesn’t even make sense.
— Youngmi Mayer @youngmimayer/TikTok
Youngmi Mayer uploaded her grievances onto Twitter as well, where dozens of other Squid Game viewers agreed with the show’s mistranslation irritations.
This Twitter user, who watches South Korean productions on a regular, admitted to trusting the subtitles “blindly,” but shared their desires to watch Squid Game with Youngmi Mayer’s subtitles.
Another Twitter user supported Youngmi Mayer and her grievances, stating that it “infuriates” them how much translation “gets lost from the original message.”
This tweet shared their appreciation for Youngmi Mayer and her work in trying to “make up” for the mistranslations.