Squid Game and the West’s Subtitle Phobia
Mia looks at the success of Squid Game in the West and how it has opened up audiences to foreign media.
It has been one year since the Netflix sensation Squid Game came out on the streaming platform. The Korean drama had the west in its grip as it received rave reviews, flooded social media and became Netflix’s most watched series to date. It’s impact on Western media continues as just last week, Squid Game made history at the 74th annual Emmy Awards. The esteemed television awards gifted the series with two of its major prizes: outstanding lead actor in a drama series for Lee Jung-jae, the first Asian actor to win this award, and outstanding directing in a drama series for Hwang Dong-hyuk, the first non-English drama to receive this award. Hwang, in his acceptance speech, brought up the topic that this article aims to discuss:
‘I truly hope that Squid Game won’t be the last non-English series to be here at the Emmys’
Lee Jung-jae and Hwang Dong-hyuk at the 74th Emmys (Source: NME.com)
The glory of Squid Game at the awards calls back to Parasite’s success in 2019 at the Academy Awards. So why did it take it so long for non-Western media to cause such a stir? While there are numerous reasons ranging from cultural barriers to ideological differences this article wishes to focus on a more simpler cause – a resistance from English-speaking audiences to read subtitles on a foreign film or television show.
Some viewers feel as if subtitles removes them from the experience – that they may be too fast or distracting. Others claim that it removes the comedic timing or that tense scenes lose their surprise factor. People may simply be feeling lazy and watch TV with the aim of relaxing; reading subtitles then becomes a task for them. A ‘solution’ to this problem comes in the form of English voice dub over the original audio. In my view, an off-sync dub in an American accent over a Korean actor is even more off-putting and distracting than subtitles.
Lately, the trends have been are shifting. A 2019 study from Netflix shows the use of subtitles is becoming more mainstream with over 80% of members using subtitles at least once a month with users claiming it is to help them ‘learn new languages’ (Source: TheWeek). European shows like Money Heist, Elite and Lupin surely played a significant part in this statistic. However thanks to shows like Squid Game, Western audiences now seem to be opening up to television from the East. An area that was previously neglected by Western critics. Netflix has perhaps played the biggest part in that; releasing the Japanese sci-fi Alice in Borderland and the Thai thriller Girl From Nowhere – both of which topped international streaming charts. Korean television has perhaps faired the best of all with Netflix produced dramas consistently topping the charts since Squid Game’s release: All of Us are Dead, Business Proposal and Extraordinary Attorney Woo. So clearly the trend is there so it looks like Hwang’s wish for more critical recognition of non-English series may be coming true sooner rather than later.
Alice in Borderland (Source: medium.com)
Ultimately Western audiences shouldn’t close themselves off to a whole world of media simply because they view reading subtitles as an obstacle. It could allow us to open up ourselves to brand new perspectives on cultures that we previously knew little about. Thankfully, the tide seems to be going in that direction.
58 thoughts on “Squid Game and the West’s Subtitle Phobia”
Well I truly enjoyed reading it. This subject offered by you is very useful for correct planning.
Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say superb blog!
Simply wish to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity to your put up is just great and that i can think you’re knowledgeable on this subject. Fine together with your permission let me to take hold of your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks one million and please keep up the rewarding work.
Hey There. I found your blog the use of msn. This is a very smartly written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your helpful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.
My brother suggested I may like this website. He was entirely right. This submit truly made my day. You can not imagine just how so much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!
A person essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular publish amazing. Great job!
you are in point of fact a excellent webmaster. The website loading speed is amazing. It kind of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick. Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you’ve done a fantastic process on this subject!
I just couldn’t leave your web site before suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard info a person provide to your guests? Is gonna be again continuously in order to check up on new posts
You are my breathing in, I have few web logs and occasionally run out from to post .
Rattling excellent info can be found on website.
I want to show appreciation to you for bailing me out of this predicament. After surfing around through the internet and obtaining tricks which were not pleasant, I was thinking my entire life was done. Being alive without the presence of approaches to the problems you have fixed by means of your main posting is a crucial case, and the kind that could have negatively damaged my career if I had not come across your blog. Your good competence and kindness in dealing with all the stuff was excellent. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come upon such a stuff like this. I’m able to at this time look forward to my future. Thank you very much for the skilled and sensible guide. I won’t be reluctant to endorse the sites to any person who needs to have support about this situation.
Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results. If you know of any please share. Appreciate it!
It’s in point of fact a great and helpful piece of information. I’m happy that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.
Its good as your other posts : D, thankyou for putting up. “History is a pact between the dead, the living, and the yet unborn.” by Edmund Burke.
I want to point out my affection for your generosity in support of people that need guidance on this question. Your very own commitment to passing the solution all over turned out to be really functional and has without exception enabled regular people just like me to get to their pursuits. Your warm and helpful recommendations can mean a lot a person like me and even further to my office workers. Thank you; from everyone of us.
It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more things about it!
Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!
sleepy hollow apartments axio apartments campus pointe apartments
Very good article post. Great.
Thanks for the article.Thanks Again. Keep writing.
I like reading through a post that will make people think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!
HAVE A FREE CONSULTATION WITH A QUALIFIED ACCREDITED PROFESSIONAL TODAY
wow, awesome blog post. Fantastic.
Really appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really thank you! Really Great.
When I originally commented I clicked the „Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time acomment is added I get four emails with the same comment.Is there any way you can remove people from that service?Thanks a lot!
Thanks again for the article post.Much thanks again. Keep writing.
Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic article post.Much thanks again. Will read on…
Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form?I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficultyfinding one? Thanks a lot!
Great article post.Much thanks again. Want more.
بهترین سایت خرید فالوور اینستاگرام با تخفیف عالی و کیفیت برتر
Very neat blog.Thanks Again. Cool.
lisinopril brand name in usa
Appreciate you sharing, great post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.
That is a really good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise informationÖ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read article!
Im obliged for the article.Really looking forward to read more. Great.
Very informative blog post.Thanks Again. Much obliged.
Enjoyed every bit of your blog.Much thanks again. Keep writing.
Im obliged for the article.Thanks Again. Awesome.