You are probably badly watching Netflix’s Squid game

Look, where isn’t there an absolute “wrong” way to look at Squid Game, but there are definitely different ways – lower ways, higher ways.

The worldwide popularity of South Korean drama has reignited the dubbing versus subtitles debate, and yes, it is a debate as there are strong opinions on both sides.

Even those in the middle say cheerfully that either option is good and how dare anyone think otherwise, that anything that allows English speakers to watch a series from a non-English speaking country is a good thing. .

Two contestants come up with a survival strategy in Squid Game.  Photo / Supplied
Two contestants come up with a survival strategy in Squid Game. Photo / Supplied

Whatever you choose, either you miss some of the visual action while glued to the reading from the bottom of the screen, or you watch nine hours of a show with mismatched lips and strong American accents for a story. taking place in and around Seoul.

Unless you speak Korean, there’s no denying that Squid Game, a series about deadly competition between 456 contestants for a big cash prize, is a somewhat diminished experience, whether you choose to read the subtitles or choose. the audio dubbing track.

Dubbing and subtitles present translation problems on various levels.

An American actress named Youngmi Mayer tweeted that she was fluent in Korean and had watched Squid Game with English subtitles to find big differences in the translation.

She wrote: “If you don’t understand Korean, you haven’t really watched the same show. [The] the translation was so bad. The dialogue was so well written and none of it survived. “

She made a video comparing the differences, which included a dilution of the show’s focus on the wealth disparity between rich and poor.

However, many pointed out that Mayer watched the English subtitles with subtitles, which are designed for hearing impaired viewers and include descriptions of audio sounds as well as dialogue. Mayer later said that the regular English subtitles were significantly better in their translation.

Contestants in Netflix's survival horror series Squid Game.  Photo / Supplied
Contestants in Netflix’s survival horror series Squid Game. Photo / Supplied

Several viewers on social media said the English dub track was almost identical to closed captioning, suggesting that if you want to capture the richness of the series, regular captions will better do that. as the dubbing track.

For what it’s worth, filmmaker Taika Waititi has obviously taken sides in the sub vs dub war.

Part of the problem with dubbing versus subtitles is that Netflix defaults to using the English dub track on non-English language titles including Squid Game and other popular series such as French Lupine or the Spanish Money Heist.

For many users, the default means that they don’t even know that there is an option to watch shows or movies in the original language associated with a subtitle track.

It’s only after you’ve manually changed your settings on a few non-English titles that Netflix changes your account’s default value.

The reason for the default dubbing is because Netflix has found that users in the US are more likely to end a series or movie with the dub track rather than with captions. Do whatever you want with it.

In the past, Netflix has revealed that 78% of viewers watch the German series Dark with a dub track rather than its original language track. Ninety percent of Dark’s audiences were outside of Germany, meaning that only 12 percent of the total global audience watched the series in German with subtitles.

How to change the default audio settings on your Netflix interface.  Photo / Netflix
How to change the default audio settings on your Netflix interface. Photo / Netflix

At the end of the day, if you watch Squid Game with the voice acting or the subtitles, it’s up to you.

And maybe you don’t even care about the show’s scorching social commentary on wealth inequality and the exploitation of the poor by the rich. Maybe you’re just here for the hyper-real violence and the awe-inspiring conception of the production.

But if you want the full experience – apart from Korean – the subtitles will bring you that much closer.

About Victoria Rothstein

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