Good question. One I’ve always wanted to ask. Although I thought it would probably not be a question of ‘allowed or not’, but rather ‘appropriate or not’, and more importantly, ‘accurate or not’.
Agree. It depends on the genre of the drama. Yet, in non-gangster genre, I’d still prefer better choice of (alternate) words, and do appreciate the asterisking of vulgar words if used because seeing some of the awful vulgar words on screen is such a turn off for me, personally, and particularly when the genre doesn’t call for its usage.
I actually do appreciate this auto-censor mechanism on Viki. While I wholeheartedly agree with translating it as it is spoken/scripted, I do believe some level of restraint would serve a good overall purpose. Not that it is necessary a need to withhold vulgarity from the younger than 14 age group, since with the vibrant internet and its ease of accessibility, there really is no way to ‘censor’ to be ‘protective’. That lies squarely on the shoulders of parents. Still, a little restraint is a good thing. Besides, I think it is also a reflection of quality work or good taste.
Without any intent to offend or single out any specific site, I do cringe whenever vulgar words are used in subbing, esp when inappropriately used, or there are other options of words to use that can also reflect the spoken/scripted line. For instances, in the currently airing Drinking Solo drama, I thought these instances of vulgarity were pretty tasteless and not appropriate. I’ve noticed such ‘vulgar’ usage on this channel happens often, which is one reason why I thought Viki’s volunteer community churns out more classy/accurate subs and would be my first choice of site for any drama. No doubt, it’s also thanks to the auto-censor mechanism.
Choice of translation for the scripted 개 쓰레기 gae sseulegi (lit. dog crap/trash or SOB, 狗 屎/废物) , I thought it was better to be literally subbed as dog crap or alternately as SOB (개자식 lit. son of a bitch, 母犬子) than the vulgar word ‘a**hole’. The word ‘crap’ though also vulgar, doesn’t sound as bad. Even then, I thought if using such a vulgar word is inevitable, inserting asterisks would be less tasteless. Also, it has nothing to do with East vs West influence or conservative vs liberal leaning. IMO, it’s a matter of appropriateness and quality.
Again, instances posted are just for sake of discussion and happen to be timely too. (I’ve seen worse instances in the past). Absolutely nil intent to denigrate any site or any translation.