Inappropriate use of vulgar words

Please go here, it’s Goblin episode 12. @49:49

The boss calls her “dorai” (madwoman, lunatic) and the subtitles go “That… that bi…”
What was the need for that, pray?


I think it might be a question of nuances on the translator’s part, but if the translator’s standard isn’t that of the character who is speaking, it becomes a translation mistake. When we cannot grasp the feeling behind the swearing (and that is a difficult thing to do, as everyone points out) then we end up making a mistranslation. And sometimes it’s just an outright mistake where the subber has no clue that the original word means something else than the insult they chose to translate it with.


This is actually a good point in favor of putting an asterisk in the middle of the word in question. It always seemed to me like a derisory (and a bit hypocritical) attempt to make people believe the swear word wasn’t really intentional and that no one was responsible for it, when it was actually there for everyone to see. But what you point out makes me think this could be a reason behind the use of those asterisks. I’m still not entirely convinced of the effectiveness of the method, though.

On the other hand, putting a less offensive swear word seems like a mistranslation to me. Unless there is a very close in meaning and feeling but less shocking term. Although here again, if the original shocks the character then we need something equally as shocking for the viewer.
One of the main issue around this topic is the repetitive use, in the subtitles, of two or three swear words that are actually much more offensive than some might think (and than some American TV shows might make you think, as bozoli pointed out). Seeing them being thrown around thoughtlessly every chance one gets is appalling. In that case, asking ourselves wether a slightly less (or even a much less) offensive term would fit and convey the right feeling is indeed what we should do.

None, no need at all. That’s a clear example of a translation mistake. It definitely should be corrected.


Punk is not a particularly good translation though as it is a regionalism. I had to look up what “punk” meant as I had heard the term but it a distinct americanism. Bastard is a not a very strong curse word in British, and is commonly bandied about amongst youngsters in both Euroenglish and Oceanian english. The problem is finding terms that are sufficiently broad to encompass wide regions as well as international english (where punk is hard to come by at all).


I think you’ll gain from watching the very articulate and educated Stephen Fry and his take on why swearing is an important part of language. And remember profanity is part and parcel of language. It develops to fullfill functions and to be intentionally disruptive, intentionally to express disgust, irritation, distrust, despising, or outright hatred. You curtail emotion when you curtail the language that expresses emotion. You curtail social differences when you curtail the language that expresses those differences. The existence of significant swearing is accross all language at all time is a testament to the absolute linguistic necessity for these distinctions.


In the conversation about the use of vulgarity in translating, has anyone ever mentioned the ratings that Viki gives each individual drama? And I’m not talking about the rating viewers give for how much they liked or disliked the show, but rather the PG, PG-13 or R, etc. ratings. I didn’t see anything referencing that in this thread or in the other current thread that has touched on the subject.

I ask because I was an editor on a short Japanese drama recently for which the pre-subs were littered with what one might call “top tier” swear words by American standards, and specifically by American TV rating standards. Viki has the show rated as PG-13, so I did some research to find out what threshold the industry has for this level of rating, and basically no top-tier swear words, or at most one, should be allowed. As someone who doesn’t speak the source language, I don’t know how closely the translation was to the actual sentiment or if the translator was taking liberties.

Having said that, I don’t know what Viki’s practice is in giving these ratings to shows. I can’t seem to find any information about it upon cursory research. Do they decide the ratings based on any rating from the source distributors? Is it strict or arbitrary? I am curious about the process. Does anyone have any information on this? I’m also curious if any other editors take these ratings into consideration like I did.


In Korean dramas at least, you see the rating on the starting screen. Most of them are 15+, although there are a few which are 19+ as well.
What I’m not sure is whether Viki closely follows those guidelines coming from the producers or not.


Does Viki even determine those ratings? :thinking: I think they are standard, but they do differ from country to country.


Since RaktenViki buys the dramas/Movie License and with that Copyright privilege (limitations do apply) when it comes to rating is definitely up to them RVIKI what rating they give the drama/movie.

I personally feel that RVIKI miss a lot when it comes to rating since I watched a movie here that to me was PORNO in nature and it was at first rated R17, but after many written complains from us (in the comment section), it was raised to R19, but here at RVIKI I know they can be as young as 12 years old, and nothing will stop them from watching if they want to.

Interesting fact I found USA

Motion Picture Ratings | The First Amendment Encyclopedia

The ratings system is voluntary, and there is no legal requirement that filmmakers submit their films for rating.

South Korea rating system varies and it has many flaws when it comes to age appropriate of kids watching K dramas (in my personal opinion).

Korea Media Rating Board | Rating System Wiki - Fandom

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I guess my own assumption is that there is some kind of industry ‘standard’ that converts ratings in target countries based on the rating in the home country. That seems logical, but it’s just speculation. If that’s the case, Viki wouldn’t directly have anything to do with it. It’s all just curiosity on my part, though.


Ah, regarding gae sekki, I found something that is gold!
While You Were Sleeping episode 16 @33:22
Here we have an ajumma who habitually peppers her speech with English expressions. In this case, she translates the Korean literally in English, with comic results. Therefore you can see that the translation of what she had in mind (gae sekki) is “Dog baby”.


Puppy!!! :joy: