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Word play in K-dramas


#21

I remember 무감정증 vs. 무정자증 in Alice. It was very funny. Thanks for sharing some of the new terms! Here is another popular one I came across in the Zombie Detective.

읽앂 = 읽고 앂다 = Read and Ignore the text.

I hope this thread can be used to enlighten some viewers and also to be a place where fellow Korean-English translators can visit to learn from each other.


#22

I’ve seen this translated as “leave on read”, so I’m guessing it’s how it can be said in English (but that could be different depending on which English).

Sounds like a good idea!


#23

I think 싶어 on its own usually means “ignore”. Btw, I came across another funny one while working on Zombie Detective, Episode 2.

개이득— I have never seen this one before but I translated it as “damn big profit”. If you watch the episode, I think you will get it right away.


#24

It’s actually 읽씹 as in 읽고 씹다. Like 문자를 씹는다. Literally chewing/eating the text away, which means ignoring the text and not responding back.


#25

That’s a great translation for it.

It was also in The Legend of the Blue Sea, when a beggar lady exclaimed “개이득!” after she found some clothing she liked from the donation box. We translated it as “Score!” at that time. Basically if you add 개 in front of the word 이득, it emphasizes it.


#26

My bad. Yes, it was a typo. I am still getting used to writing in Korean. I had to order the Korean letter stickers for my keyboard from Amazon after I started volunteering for Viki. I haven’t written in Korean this much since I left Korea as a middle schooler.


#27

@emilyazel and @ajumma2, here is another fun example from Alice, Episode 9. It’s an exchange between the two female leads.

Do Yeon: 개수작 부리지 말고 가세요.
Sun Young: 개수작? 나한테 욕했어요?
DY: 욕이라뇨? 진짜 무식하시다. 개살구 개꿈의 개는 동물아니에요. 헛되고 쓸데없는 짓을 뜻하는 접두사지. 교수가
그것도 몰라요?
SY: 기자님 성격 진짜 개떡 같네요.

Since I had to somehow keep the word “dog” so that the humor does not get lost in the translation, this is how I translated the exchange.

DY: Stop being doggone ridiculous and please go.
SY: Doggone ridiculous? Did you just swear at me?
DY: What do you mean swear? You really are ignorant. “Dog” in the words “dog apricot” and “dog dream” is not an animal. It is used as a prefix to mean “in vain” or “useless”. You are a professor and you don’t even know that?
SY: Miss Reporter, your personality really is doggone strange!


#28

Yea, it’s really hard to translate things like that.


#29

In Love Revolution’s latest episode, there was this:

In the category “slang”:
• 어장질하다 (sometimes 어장관리): a metaphor with fisheries for how you treat people who are interested in you: It’s the attitude of maintaining the other person at the end of your hook and bait by leaving them expectant, while you actually have no intention to ever be in a relationship with them. So it’s when you’re toying with someone/leading someone on.
Explanation: 어장관리 (eojanggwanri) literally means “fishery management”. So it’s how you manage your fish stock for profit and sustainability of the fishery. In a way, the metaphor can be interpreted as how you manage the people interested in you so that you never run out of suitors but don’t have to actually commit to engaging with them. You just keep your stock afloat for your convenience.
Also, the saying can be used when you’re the one being used and toyed with.

In the category “pun”:
• 백전백패 (baek-jeon-baek-pae), a pun on 백전백승 (baek-jeon-baek-seung, 百戰百勝).
The original, 백전백승 (baek-jeon-baek-seung), means “a hundred victories for a hundred battles fought” (i.e. to be sure to win every battle). Here it was twisted around and the last syllable (hanja) changed from “seung” (victory, 승) to “pae” (failure, 패) to give 백전백패 (baek-jeon-baek-pae) = “a hundred failures for a hundred battles fought”, i.e. 100% failure.

And I found a wordplay I had in my notes from Sweet Munchies, too:
• “말만 맞춘 게 아니라, 눈도 맞췄나봐?” Literally “You didn’t just match your words, you even matched your eyes/gaze.”
Explanation: 말 맞추다 (mal matchuda) = match your story, discuss together what you will say beforehand (usually when you plan on deceiving people) ; 눈 맞추다 (nun matchuda) = literally, match your eyes = meet each other’s gaze/look each other in the eyes, and by extension, fall in love.
I had tried to keep the feeling and put: “You guys didn’t just match your stories, you even matched each other and fell in love.” but it’s not the most satisfying translation I’ve come up with…

Also, a good chunk of these interpretations are just my own thoughts, so feel free to correct me if you think I’m wrong on anything!


#30

In More Than Friends, I came across the word “눈탱이”, which is a slangy term for “눈 (eye)”. 눈, however, also means snow. Here are some popular expressions using the word:

눈탱이가 밤탱이 됐네 (noon-tang-ee-gha bham-tang-ee daet-ne) = You got a shiner (bruised eye).

눈탱이 맞았다 (noon-tang-ee mha-jaht-da) = I got ripped off.


#31

Oh nice, I didn’t know any of these! Thanks.


#32

There are so many slangy terms in K-dramas that it is getting harder and harder to translate. At some point, when we are not too busy with our projects, maybe we should compile these terms to be used as a reference for Korean-English translators.


#33

It would be great if you keep sharing those terms here in this Topic (word play in k dramas) Discussion (part) bc it will also help us all, who wants to learn the Korean language, and those ‘‘slangy terms,’’ that are so complicated even for those who know the Language well. I hate the words that can mean 3 things, and of course according to the sentence you pick the one that belongs there. Thank you for sharing this.


#34

As a viewer, I remember cringing at some of the subtitles that were all too literal or completely wrong. Now that I am translating here at Viki, I realize how difficult it really is to translate the slang terms. I am hoping that at least for our Viki community members, maybe this thread can be used to explain (and learn) some of those terms.


#35

Here are a few of the slangy terms that are more widely used:

또라이 (tto-ra-ee) = a nutcase or a weirdo
쪽팔려 (jjok-pahl-ryeo) = embarrassing
모태솔로 (mo-tae-solo) = solo (single) since birth

I will keep adding to the list.


#36

I just came up with this idea to learn how to pronounce this slangy or Korean words; Google translate has a system that you put the word in, and when you click the megaphone it tells you how the word is pronounce correctly in Korean. The only problem I encountered that in other language I couldn’t get the word translated (like in English or Spanish), and I don’t know why bc I figured they would be able to.

I’m assuming bc these are slangy terms they have no definition/translation for them which is fine bc I know what it means in Spanish anyway and you already translated for us in English. Thank you so much!


#37

Here’s my spreadsheet on Korean slangs.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1aeSP6Cz4hcza10Et9_8e2VZRXIZfCI7aknc1y29_9c8/edit#gid=0

@choitrio @emilyazel

If you’d like edit access to add any info, send me your email addresses via Viki PM.


#38

Here is a new one from Zombie Detective, Episode 5.

월클 (wol-kle) = world class

By the way, I used to think that historical dramas are the toughest to translate but translating Zombie Detective makes me think that comedic ones might be just as difficult. I find myself spending extra time and effort trying to find a way to deliver the funny/witty lines so that the humor does not get lost in the translation.


#39

I thought this was open to everyone with Read-Only access by default, but maybe it wasn’t. I went ahead and manually changed it to give everyone Read/Comment access. Please let me know if anyone has trouble opening it.


#40

When you watch Zombie Detective, Episode 6, see if you can catch the two slang terms I have explained in this topic: 또라이 and 쪽팔려