Woman Shows Us What We Missed Thanks To 'Squid Game's' Bad Translation

Considering how quickly we can automatically translate any foreign text we come across, it can be easy to take good translation for granted.

This is partially because the bad translation efforts of the past were much more obviously wrong, so it's little easier to be confident in modern translations that at least appear to make sense. And as long as we're not getting a phrase tattooed on our bodies, we're OK with just getting the general idea of what someone said.

However, that's not always how we should oeprate because some stories illustrate that proper translation can save lives, while others show that it can help us see through the misleading front that important people in our lives can put up.

But while the mistakes that one woman revealed don't have such life-changing implications as these scenarios, it turns out that they completely change what the world's most popular show right now is trying to tell us.

Be advised that the video featured in this article contains explicit language.

On September 30, a Korean-American woman named Youngmi Mayer uploaded a TikTok following up on her tweets claiming that "Squid Game" was badly translated.

In these tweets, she said that it's so bad that it almost leaves English-speaking viewers watching an entirely different show than Korean viewers.

As she put it, "The dialogue was written so well and zero of it was preserved."

As you'll soon see in the full video, this is particularly true in the case of Han Mi-nyeo, or Player 212.

As Mayer said in her video, "Her dialogue constantly gets botched."

Although part of this had to do with how sanitized her normally curse-laden language became, there were also dialogue changes that seemed small but completely changed her character.

The biggest difference Mayer identified had Han Mi-nyeo saying, "I'm not a genius, but I've still got it worked out" when she actually says, "I am very smart, I just never got a chance to study."

Not only are her actual words a common trope in Korean media, but they speak to why she was written into the show in the first place.

As Mayer put it, "You're missing a lot of this character and what she stands for."

And in another example, Mayer shows how inaccurate translations can have this effect on a whole episode.

This comes into play during a conversation in which Oh Il-nam or Player One explains the concept of Gganbu, which he describes as a type of friendship where everything is shared.

But in Mayer's words, "They missed a really small line there, but it's literally the point of the whole episode."

Indeed, it's surprising that translators would miss the distinction she makes in light of the fact that everyone involved in playing the titular Squid Game is doing so out of financial necessity.

Mayer says that rather than describing Gganbu as a trusting and sharing friendship, the actual line characterizes it as "there is no ownership between me and you."

Although she can point to dozens of other examples of these botched translations changing the meaning of Squid Game, you can see in the video here that this example particularly irked her.

As she put it, "That is such a difference in ideology that the writer is trying to get across to you."