Funny / Scary / Weird / Interesting things that you have to look up to translate 😂


With my teammates, sometimes, we are confronted to this situation: what the actor is talking about?
Or is there another more correct word to translate this?

Sometimes, you find some gems to remember xd

The ones that I could remember at this instant are:

Funny (Scary for some :stuck_out_tongue:)

  • “Lobster”: we have different names in France for these crustaceans so my teammate discovered that she had a lobster phobia when we first made some research, I ended looking up pics of different kind of lobsters alone around midnight to find the correct French translation xd It was really funny!


  • It was a word for a teammate from another drama and I forgot the word but it was some word synonym of prison. The drama was a legal theme one and so we had to be precise to what kind of structure it was for prison. I discovered information about different prison structures in my country and their characteristics.

-Hierarchy in police, army: some titles that need to be translated.

-For my first try in translating historical kdrama, we searched for some historical vocabulary list on Joseon era, info about this era beforehand and made our French translations list of vocabulary, recap. So yes, it was informative for me because I clearly didn’t know a thing about this era :slight_smile:
We also had the nyang, yang term and I got to read some interesting things about history of Korean money. We finally found answers thanks to a post here (I think it was Irmar’s post and the answer came from Ajumma? Thanks!).
We also had a question about servant translation if it’s a man/woman. In French, the translation differs according to your gender.

-Makeup products + Cuisine : I think I learnt more about makeup things and skincare products while translating makeup vlogs than in my entire life! “Ladyfingers” has different translations in French + French equivalent ingredients.

-Sheng nu women in China = leftover women (I already talked about it before). To explain in translating notes, looking into press articles

-“Pc room”: apparition and development of it.

-Medical machines xd

-“Mokbang” = “foodporn”: never heard about it before until I had to translate it. Really weird for me to film ourselves while eating xd


I remember a really funny translation in the movie “Take Off 2”
This movie is about the first South Korean woman’s national ice hockey team.
One of the women lived together with a gangster grandpa.
He was reeally gangster, he even wore golden chains and a hipster cap. :laughing:

And then he began to sing a song I will never forget in my life…
♪ Here, baby, I’m here! Milfs and cougars, gather around! No place for boring ass b*****! ♪
Best english translation ever!

And now try to translate that in german, haha! :joy:


Mokbang 먹방 is short for 먹는 방송 which literally just means “broadcasting people eating.” But those people eat so scrumptiously, for the lack of better word, that the subber was probably either just having fun with the word or was guessing what it means.


Indeed, when you translate you come across various surprising stuff.
Interesting :

  • Hierarchy in korean company. There is so many different titles, OMG ! In France there is not that many different titles in a company so when in one drama you see different people being called “Chairman, CEO & President” but in your language it’s all translated by the same word “Président”, you’re like “What do I do ? Who is really the Big Boss here ?” Lol. Or you have someone call “Head” and another call “Chief”, but once again, in your language it’s the same word “Chef”. Argh.
    Even in english, the vocabulary is more various than in french when it comes to this. Thanks to translation, not only I got to know more about the hierarchy in french companies but I even know my way around korean company and its hierarchy ladder now !
  • The name of various disease and surgery method. Yes, in kdrama, when you encounter a medical drama, we usually don’t follow a regular doctor (well, what will be the point of the drama, then ?) but generally surgeon ! And not your simple surgeon but one who, if not specialize on the brain, then on the heart, to make things easier, lol ! So thanks to the translation and the viewing of a few medical drama, I got to know things I would have normally never got interested to.
  • makeup : whether it’s a product or a technique, I just discover a brand new world while translating things about it! XD I thought I was big on this field because I actually like makeup but I’m just an amateur level 1, lol!

The western lowland gorilla is the smallest gorilla out of the gorilla gorillas, scientific name Gorilla gorilla gorilla.

The Dongjeong clementine is one of six varieties of Jeju clementine, in fact it is a rank of clementine. However these varieties are not produced and the majority are the mikan (same Japanese variety).

Goryeo paper is a type of traditional paper. In Korea paper was named like textiles (silk etc.) according to feel. In China the same paper was called Goryeo paper because the Chinese believed this high quality paper is stored in every place you can use paper in Goryeo (name of the unified Korean kingdom before Joseon).

The highest position in the HR department in Americanese is HR director.

Hematoma is medicalese for blood clot.

I learned what a hematoma under the skull but above the brain’s covering in infants was called (forgot) it was the incorrect translation because the patient was an adult woman.

I got excited when I got to subtitle about congenital heart disease in Beautiful Mind. We consist of 1% of the US population.

There is an Office of Translation Services under the US State Department (Executive Branch).

The Printing Dept in the US Federal sense is the Bureau of Printing and Engraving and the head of the bureau is called director.

There are just like the gov. officers, 9 ranks which can be given to the esteemed ladies who are wives of high ranking politicians in Joseon. These were the women you’d look up to at the time. The titles were bestowed by the royal court.

King Sejong artificially lowered the hierarchy of the Korean royal court as he deemed it improper to share the same ones as an empire (Ming). Our queens are called wangfei (in pinyin), whereas this is the title of wife of princes in China.

Zhao Yun had a famous spear…


What you said about the hematoma made me think about ‘cephalohematoma’. ^:^
I came across that word before the segment was edited. I started to look for an accurate translation in French. And while I was making a couple of research, I also learnt it concerns only newborn babies.


yep. That’s why I edited it out and consulted someone who has worked in ob/gyn in the surgical wards.

1 Like

You definitely saved the meaning of this movie with Joysprite. :slight_smile:

1 Like

aww thanks. :smiley: I’d like to work on another movie sometime. If viki ever grants us any.
You really touched my heart.

1 Like

Medical terms are more or less easy to find, because, since the conditions-tools-treatments exist in every language, it’s a matter of time: if you search cleverly, you will eventually find them.
I must admit that being Italian-Greek, and the medical terms all coming from Greek and Latin, I am at an advantage, because most of the time I at least have an idea of what they mean. For instance, haematoma is a Greek word, “aema” means blood, and the word haematoma is in current use (not only medical, but daily use) in modern Greek as well, it usually means “bruise” - you know, the ones which start as red, then become purple, then yellow and then disappear. Of course if the same thing happens inside, near an organ, it’s more serious.

Food: rather than inventing a translation or finding an approximate equivalent, I usually put the original word with an explanation underneath the first time, then I assume the audience remembers. I mean, I couldn’t call “mandu” a “ravioli” because ravioli are boiled whereas mandu are steamed. Moreover, mandus are pouch like, they look nothing like ravioli. It’s better to write mandu and explain that it’s a sort of steamed ravioli, and then keep mandu throughout. In “Man living in our house” they had a restaurant called “Hong Mandu” which is shown and/or mentioned all the time. Could I write “Hong Ravioli”? It would be ridiculous!

Swear words are difficult because you have to make choices according to context, without being too offensive to viewers. Typically Korean dramas have a very small variety of swear words, and if you look at their actual meaning, they are really mild compared to their usual translations. There are two whole other threads on that, so I won’t say anything further.

Formal/informal/half-formal/half-informal speech. What a headache! Fortunately there are people I can ask for help, but I cannot be bothering them ALL the time, especially when they are not in the same team. Learning a bit of Korean is the only way to go here.

The most difficult for me are things that have no equivalent in other languages, such as office titles/ranks. Two or three titles which can all be translated as Director, CEO or President. But there are three different people, and each one is the senior of the one below him, so how do you translate? I am starting “Misaeng” right now, and it’s my single biggest headache.


Ask any of your trusty translation editors. We will help you. I need to reewatch Misaeng. I loved that thing to death. My love of Chief Oh made me slave on memory.


1 Like

I love trusty translation editors, and they are precious when the problem is the formal speech, but they are useless when it comes to office titles. They can tell me more or less what the position is, which I already know from visiting numerous specialized websites and making a whole file on it. But they cannot tell me how to translate these in Italian or Greek, when these ranks don’t really exist, because the ranks are fewer, and some Korean ranks fall in-between two or ours.
And yes, I fell in love with Misaeng too, that’s why I originally asked for it.
Now I’m watching Producer and I’m loving it too!

1 Like

Couldn’t you make stuff up? That’s basically what we do in Saimdang, Mirror of the Witch, Jackpot, and every historical ever since it doesn’t exist in America/English.

Well, I suppose one could… However, given that it’s not historical, but contemporary, it’s a bit more difficult. People will expect to understand what goes on and who is who. In a historical, viewers will trust you more, since they know nothing anyway, and are willing to make concessions.

Office titles are often a headache for Ko-En translators, too. One of the hardest one to translate is the title 대리 (Daeri), which often is translated as assistant manager. But that position is not a managerial position at all. This title is given to a staff member who is not a 신입사원 (Shin Ip Sa Won -newly hired), and who’s been with the company for a while, but had never been promoted. I suppose you could use “senior staff member” but that gives a vibe of a high level staff member, where as Daeri is actually the lowest level staff member who is not a newly hired. In addition, since Koreans address each other with titles, rather than names, it’s hard to translate them as Americans do not do it. BTW, I worked on both Misaeng and Producer. :slight_smile:

Oh, FYI, you could also boil Mandoo as well. It’s called Mool Mandu (water mandu). :slight_smile:
Steamed ones are Jjin Mandu and fried ones are Goon Mandu. They are all good in their own way.


Oh, that’s good info, thank you! Although it will make the “explanation note” longer! Are the steamed ones more prevalent or are all three varieties equally popular?
And the shape is always pouch-like, isn’t it?
Actually in Greece we know of something from peoples in Asia Minor, near the Pontos (a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey) and also an Armenian and Turkish dish. It’s called “mandi” and it looks exactly like a mandu. Only they put them in an oven tray.
And there are different ways of closing them. One style is biggish squares and you bring up oopposing corners (really pouch style)
Another way uses very small squares, so you bring together the two adjacent corners (like a smiling mouth) and then twist them.
And yet another joins two corners together and then twists. (In all of these video links you are brought to the exact minute when they start folding, to avoid wasting time)

Whereas Maangchi makes Koreann mandu from a largish circular shape, folds it in half just like ravioli, but then goes on to pinch the semicircular side until it’s gathered.


Sometimes it’s tiring to find an accurate translation, but I also like to search the internet and discover new things and new words. There is a lot that I have to look up, but when I find itt, it’s very satisfying

Finding titles is a challenge for Dutch translations. We really don’t have a lot and if we have them, it’s usually only for a function, but not to address someone (apart form some very specific titles). For addressing someone we might use mister or mrs. We used to have a word for miss (we still have it), but nowadays we tend to use mrs more and more.

I just subbed a part of a school drama and when the character was tallking about grades, they were representend in American style. Like A till F. In the Netherlands we use numbers instead. So when I went researching I found out an A+ is the same as a 9 and an F is the same as a 4. However our system goes from 10 (highest) to 1 (lowest), which means we have a wider range and that makes it harder to write down an accurate number.

Deciding when to change for cheondaemal to banmal is also not easy. We use formal and informal languge in Dutch, but in a Dutch conversation you would change way earlier to informal language than in a Korean conversation. I’m moderating a drama in which two characters keep speaking formal to each other the entire drama, but their realationship develops and eventually they even marry. If I let them keep speaking formally in Dutch, it would look weird in the end, so I had to decide a moment where we switch to informal language.

Other things I have to look up are medical terms and historical terms. I often use Wikipedia for that. It’s quite handy.

I remember a drama in which the characters was talking about treasures in China and he named several Chinese dynasties. In the English translations they had kept the Korean names of the dynasties, but I decided to switch to the Chinese names, since they are known under the Chinese names in the Netherlands. I first guessed/tried out how they were spelled in Korean, than put them in the Korean wikipedia and changed the page to Dutch to see the correct name.

Last thing that I have to look up are proverbs. Instead of keeping the original with a explanation note below it, I try to find a Dutch proverb with the same meaning.


You’re welcome :slight_smile:
I hope Viki will keep on licensing movies.
I love working on movies too.

1 Like

I think fried mandu are most popular among kids and a lot of adults like steamed mandu. Boiled mandu isn’t as popular.
There are many different shapes of mandu. The most common shapes is the way Mangchii makes, but we can also make it similar to tortellini, by bringing the 2 ends of half moon shaped mandu together.

The pouch looking ones are usually bigger and made with slightly different skin and it’s typically steamed. Their skins are more bread-like. They are called Wang mandu (King mandu).
These are three different shapes of Mandu I made recently. I used regular Mandu skin for the pouch ones, not “bready” kind. The last one looks more like Pirogi. We typically don’t use forks to put in shapes like that. The way Mangchii does is more typical Korean way.


I’m hungry now ! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: