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Have English subtitles changed the meaning of 'Squid Game'?

It is quickly becoming the most popular release ever for Netflix but that doesn’t mean K-drama, Squid Game isn’t without its detractors. But whether you’re a fan or haven’t quite brought yourself to buy into the hype, there’s something you should know about watching it with subtitles — they change the meaning of the entire show.

Well, that’s according to a fluent Korean speaker on TikTok who has suggested that the English subtitles for the increasingly popular show are “botched” and change the meaning of the entire series.

TikTok user, Youngmi Mayer has claimed the closed-caption subtitles in English for Squid Game are “so bad” that they completely change the series when corrected. While the series, which sees contestants take part in heinous games in a bid to win a huge sum of money, continues to surge in popularity, Youngmi suggests the subtitles are leaving the audience wanting.

“The dialogue was so well written and zero of it was preserved [in the subtitles],” Youngmi said in a Twitter post. She gave several examples of the mistranslation picking out on in particular which she said changed the complexion of a character.

As a character tries to convince other contestants to let her on their team the subtitles read: “I’m not a genius, but I still got it worked out.” However, Youngmi suggests there is far more to it.

Youngmi confirms this to be translated more accurately as: “I am very smart, I just never got a chance to study.”

“Almost everything she says is being botched translation-wise… the writers, all they want you to know about her is that,” Youngmi said. “[It] seems so small, but it’s the entire character’s purpose of being in the show.”

Youngmi has since noted that while she was initially peaking about the Closed Captions, which are automatically generated, and that the English Subtitles are “substantially better” there is still some way to go before reaching parity with the Korean dialogue.