TV

How Accurate Are The English Subtitles For ‘Squid Game’? Depends On Which Ones You’re Using

You might have watched it with inaccurate subtitles.

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Korean series Squid Game is the biggest show out right now, but a handful of native Korean speakers are speaking out about the Netflix series’ inaccurate English subtitles.

The Korean drama was released in September is set in an alternative world where people in debt compete in deadly games. If you lose? You die. Since its release, Squid Game has ranked in Netflix’s top 10 around the globe.

But podcaster, critic and fluent Korean speaker Youngmi Mayer has pointed out that both the English dubs and subtitles for Squid Game are inaccurate. They aren’t the only one whose noticed either.

In a Twitter thread, as well as in a video posted to their TikTok, Mayer explains the caption inaccuracies for Squid Game using the character Han Mi-nyeo as an example.  Mayer shows how a scene in which Mi-nyeo pleading with a fellow contestant to continue the games with her is inaccurately captioned.

The subtitles read, “I’m not a genius but I can still work it out”. However, what she actually says, according to Mayer, is “I am very smart, I just never got a chance to study.”

However, another TikTok user, along with several Twitter users, pointed out that it’s possible Mayer was watching with the English closed captions for the English dubbed version of Squid Game. The ‘English CC’ captions were written for the version of Squid Game that has been dubbed in English. However, if you chose subtitles labelled ‘English,’ these are a closer translation from the original Korean. Not perfect, but more accurate.

One reason given for the inaccurate translation of the captions for the English dub is that dubs and their captions aim to have their translation match with the lip movements of the characters. This means phrases often have to be shortened, and certain dialogue is left out.

Moral of the story? The Squid Game subtitles labelled ‘English’ are the most accurately translated from the original Korean. The captions labelled ‘English CC’ appear less accurate, but that is because they are not subtitles for the original Korean dialogue, but for the dialogue in the English dub.

If you watched with English closed captions instead of subtitles, it’s possible you may have missed the series’ finer details. But what is this revelation other than an opportunity to binge it all over again?


Squid Game is currently streaming on Netflix.