Colloquialisms and translations question


Sadly, we have no information regarding the drama this [Knocked up] word was written in by a subber; so there’s no way to know if it was a translation done correctly or another blunder done by a subber in a drama. Hopefully if someone has that information they can add it here so we can have closure in a way. lol

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We don’t have a word like that in Swedish but we have many translations for timid (shouldn’t joke but when you live in a cold country in the north it shouldn’t be a surprise). :wink:

When I translate no matter what language one thing I fokus is on the overall story so I try to think what they say and mean and adjust the word I choose to what I think sounds right (I say them out loud, my dogs doesn’t care and for me the story doesn’t get to stif like it probably would be if I didn’t).


So milquetoast comes from milk and toast and I decided since I had time today to do some ‘‘research’’ on that slang word.

I never knew this before, and was shocked that in my 60’s I never heard the word before :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Excerpt from Google

milk toast

Urban Dictionary › define › term=mil…
](Urban Dictionary: milk toast)

To call someone a milk toast is to say that they are easily persuaded! “I’m going to go cut in front of that man in line!” "And he won’t try to stop me because …

Snapchat is “milquetoast”? Merriam-Webster defines “milquetoast” as “a timid, meek, or unassertive person ,” the implication being that a “milquetoast” person is afraid to stand up, worried about backlash.


I´m starting to think that most of us Viki-volunteers are over 40 with a tad nerdiness… :wink: I have realized since i started translating that there are so many expressions I never knew existed.


We have all ages here. A few minors, quite a lot of people in their twenties. The oldest one I know of is in her eighties and we have everything inbetween.


Isn´t 18 a subscription requirement so it´s news to me that there are minors the does subs (and segments?). :slight_smile:


They recently changed it to 18, yes, but before that, the minimum age was 13.


Some of the thing I watch here at viki arn´t apropriate for some one at 13, so I´m glad that they changed the minimum age. :slight_smile: But its great if some one started young still translate or segment.


Luckily, the shows are rated and CMs used to have the responsibility to tell people who applied that their show was 18+.

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So, I have a question about the language that hopefully some of you who translate will surely know the answer to.

I want to apologise in advance, because I can’t think of a polite way of wording this and don’t want to offend anybody Korean who may be reading this.

Ok, so sometimes when a character is getting angry, upset, annoyed…they make a sound like mmmmm, like clearing catarrh from their throat :flushed: and I wondered if that was unique to certain words, or maybe certain letters? Is it only done at the start of a word or only the end? Or is it just completely random as you get agitated?

I hope me describing it as clearing catarrh doesn’t come across as rude, but I wasn’t sure how else to describe it that people would understand. Thanks :slight_smile:


It’s a little like the khhhh they do when drinking soju, right?

Nowadays you only see characters of a certain age who do this, or if they are younger, it’s for comic effect. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that in a drama. It’s probably less done nowadays.
I think this is a sort of putting emphasis on something.
Like saying “veeerrrrry” before an adjective.


They recently changed it to 18, yes, but before that, the minimum age was 13.

BIG, big mistake to have them subbing here wayyyyyy… so young, and also to be fair to all, way too old is not ideal either (since they can be extremely slow). I’m glad it was changed, but…in reality they can lie about their age too (like they have done in the past) so in reality it’s like they did nothing at all. They need to find ways to confirm people’s age, Educational background (like we have here journalist and scientist too, no less!).

Research work/study has proven that many factors are needed in order to create good Quality subtitles, and ‘‘we’’ should enforce here at RakutenViki, that subber shall be meeting certain criteria in all different levels; to balance the outcome of the work of each and every volunteer worker here at RVIKI.

We do have to recognize that when it comes to gaming, manga, and all them young stuff we may have here, we need for it to be done by the YOUTH crowd of people, not an age older crowd; that has little to NO knowledge of the younger stuff. We do need young volunteers, but I feel that 16 is good enough.

PS One more thing, 16 year old volunteers should not work in Joseon era or Ming Dynasty era dramas etc. since they tend to modernize the era way too much and the drama ends up loosing a lot of Quality in them.

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Ah Ok, that makes sense :slight_smile: I’ve mainly seen the more senior police for example, doing it. You are right, I don’t think I have ever seen a young person doing it.

I have been watching as many Kdramas as possible so have been watching older shows as well, which is probably where I have heard it more. Obviously it never gets translated so it leaves you guessing :slight_smile:

As soon as I sort some finances out I intend to start learning Korean. My dream is to one day watch the shows without subtitles at all :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: Thank you!!


Ok, so sometimes when a character is getting angry, upset, annoyed…they make a sound like mmmmm, like clearing catarrh from their throat :flushed: and I wondered

You don’t know how much I hate those kind of scenes, and if by chance I’m eating something at that moment, and they make that sound (ugh!) I get so sick I have to go to the restroom to throw up. Well, I learned a long time ago that when watching any Korean dramas to make sure I’m not eating or even drinking coffee since I end up getting sick from my stomach. I personally feel those scenes are so vulgar, and they are not funny at all. Now some K-dramas the young actors/actress on Netflix/Prime are starting to do that noise, and it really annoys me so much. I just can’t understand what possesses a young actor/actress to agree to do such a tasteless (for better word) scene.

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Look at what I found for you


Although this comment is from back in March I feel the need to add this here, and that is that I know for a fact that some ‘‘paid subbers’’ here now at RViki are very young and that is the reason they are using this phrases we are not familiar with since we are the older crowd, and of course, we know better not to use vulgar slangs/street talk. They definitely didn’t learn that in school.

The problem with this situation now is that they are willing to work long hours for only pennies, and that is something I myself as an adult, would never be willing to do. So these business people looking to make money don’t care much about what kind of Quality work these younger paid subbers may offer to any site. I just hope RViki has more common sense and pick and choose their paid subbers better that YT for example.

I have nothing against them, but I do wish they would put more effort into adding Quality in their work since is not that hard at all. All they have to do is cut on slang words, informal talking to the general public when they know that’s not acceptable. On YT they have a lot of this kids translating the Chinese short episodes dramas and you can sense my disgust and shame when I read a title that read; The CEO got the fat girl drunk and he F***** her all night long’’ …tsk tsk, to this day that still there on YT for everyone to read. Anyone can check it out because that’s not the only one that use the F" word a lot. I filed a complain, but I know they don’t care and won’t change it since that’s been there for many weeks now. At first, I laughed because I couldn’t believe what I was reading, but now is really getting on my nerves. I know they would never go that far here at Rviki, but ‘‘anyways’’ and curses are abundant here now in many High School dramas I checked recently. Let’s hope it doesn’t get out of hand here since even some new ‘‘Staff members’’ from Rviki talk to me like they’re talking to another ‘‘young kid.’’ That’s not funny at all.

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Hi. While coloquialisms and vulgarities have to be treated with some care they are often necessary to translate the correct spirit of the original. If the original says “he got her pregnant” (in other words a neutral term for how the event occurred) then a neutral translation is called for. But if the original korean uses a vulgarity or colloquialism (and they often do, korean is quite colourful) then it should be translated with a best fit profanity from english. If you water it down you are modifying the original wording and changing the meaning and social context of the scene. The difficulty lies more in finding a relatively wide variety of profanities that are common in different dialects of english rather too age or region specific expressions. A reference for best fit translations for the most common swear words and colloquialisms could go a long way.

Also remember also that cultural sensitivity goes both ways. While an angloamerican audience is culturally very strict about swearing on TV the same is not true for other countries and profanities may abound in dramas from other countries. A correct translation should not be censoring or monitoring the nature of the original, but rendering a translation honest to the spirit of the original, including when the original intentionally crosses the line of decorum.


I agree with you, and that’s why in Korean films, for instance, we translate with full liberty, because they are much more free in speech than TV-shows, which typically are watched by the whole family in Korea.
On the other hand, there is a “but” in all this. Written profanities have a greater impact and shock value than spoken.
First of all a subtitle stays longer than a single spoken word. But it’s not only that. Putting it in writing gives it a more “official standing”, a more definite existence, so to speak. I don’t know how to explain it better but I hope you understand what I mean.
That’s why we always try to write something that is one step below in offensiveness than what is said. Not censored completely and replaced by a “child-safe” equivalent, but if there is a possibility, a choice -and there are many instances where there isn’t-, just one step down than the original.


Well, I may not be proficient enough in Chinese/Korean language, but one thing I do know, and that is that some vulgar/cursing/slang words translated from Original Korean/Chinese to English language in some dramas/movies are just made up by the subbers. I’m 100% sure the Original language (Korean/Chinese) has no such words in their vocabulary. Like I always feel when they translate a word in Korean as son of a bitch is so wrong since gae is dog and jasig is child and sig is ceremony. Where do they get the word son of a bitch from? Of course, since I’m no expert I can’t say I’m right and they are wrong, but I just feel they simply ‘‘invented’’ that word and kept using it in the subtitles, and it makes me feel so annoyed to see it so often now in dramas/movie. Why would a police officer in a drama say so much son of a bitch to another police officer? To a criminal Okay, but so many times to another police officer? I just can’t see that scene without getting annoyed.

If someone out there knows how they break from Korean 개자식 gaejasig into son of a bitch/ and some even write mother fucker; I would appreciate the explanation so much and thank you in advance.

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Korean: child of a dog
English: son of a female dog

It’s quite close to each other if you ask me.