The South Korean battle royale series that is succeeding in Netflix, The Squid Game, not only focuses on killing all the participants of the macabre children’s games proposed by its director, Hwang Dong-hyukHe also pays close attention to the psychology of his characters.
A few days ago we saw how in the English translation part of the essence of the character of Han Mi-nyeo was lost, who embodies one of the archetypes of Korean fiction in its original version but which ceases to make sense by not respecting the dialogues in Korean.
Now we are going to analyze the personality of another character in the series: Ali Abdul, who gives life Anupam Tripathi, an immigrant from Pakistan who is the only non-Korean main character we see in The Squid Game.
The Sociolinguistics Teacher Uju Anya I ask via Twitter about the behavior of Ali, who always shows himself in a situation of submission in front of the rest of his classmates with whom he really finds himself on an equal footing, treating them as “Mister”.
I don’t speak Korean, and the subtitles are reportedly bad. But, please explain why Squid Game portrays the only non-Korean main character as a brown skinned man who the entire time snivels in “sirs,” gratitude, sacrifice, and subservience to people equally fucked as him. pic.twitter.com/vQIAnl9ZT2
– Uju Anya (@UjuAnya) October 5, 2021
John lee, podcast host The Weekly Korean Foreigner, gives a detailed answer in which he explains how interpersonal treatment works in Korean society, where it is very difficult for you to become friends with someone who is not from your same circle.
In the original version, Ali uses the term “sajang-nim” instead of “Mister“, A word generally used to refer to the head of a company:”Nim is a gender-neutral suffix used to elevate the person you are talking to”.
Why was Ali portrayed as someone who kept sniveling in sirs? Well, here’s a thread that will explain why.Firstly, when Ali is first introduced to the audience, and before he gets close to any of the other characters, he does not refer to them by their names. https://t.co/R7wv2Jz6vZ
– John Lee (@koreanforeigner) October 6, 2021
Being an undocumented immigrant, Ali uses this term in which he reflects his social status towards others. “When it comes to social hierarchies, Ali is VERY down”Explains Lee.
Again, the lack of fidelity when translating the series causes these details to be lost and confusion among the audience is created.
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