Word play in K-dramas

I think you heard 필요 없어 (pilyo eobseo), which litterally translates to “The need/necessity is absent”.


@angelight313_168, I agree with @mirjam_465. It basically carries the meaning of “(I, or other pronoun) don’t need (it/to)”.


Thanks now I’m taking notes how I pronounce what I can hear the person saying, and how to write it in Korean the right way.

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Thank you, it does sound the way I heard it in the drama when I did the goggle thingy.

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so we can use both ‘r’ sound as well as ‘l’ sound for it?? I usually hear it as ‘r’ though…:thinking:


You are right. When you take “필” by itself “ㄹ” will be have “l” sound but when you say “필요” it will sound more like “piryo”.


It is pronounced as an r in this case.

ㄹ between 2 vowels or between a vowel and an h = r (“yo” is also a vowel)

ㄹ in other cases = l

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Something that bothers me a lot with Korean translations that different people give different translation and don’t create consistency making it harder for viewers to learn the language faster.

Moderators should make suggestions to stick throughout the drama with same translation (maybe make notes like we did years back). I don’t know why they stopped that. Like I said before: I saw 필요 없어 (pilyo eobseo) in the drama BIG as disgusting. I don’t like it. In Start up as; I don’t need it.

They are also adding extra lines to the subtitle that is obviously, the translator’s view of the character’s feeling. It boils me (I see it done here at Rviki site and a lot on Ntfx). I find that so rude. We don’t need to see in subtitles the subbers opinion of the characters personal feeling of the scene. Has anyone seen this in dramas, movies?

Also so I won’t be accused of making up things, I found a drama that used the word f*ck in their subtitles, and I took a screenshot of this one bc I don’t know korean but I don’t think the character/actor said that sentence. Care to clarify this for me anyone? For the life of me I can’t see this middle age man saying: ‘‘But I just can’t dick around’’

WWW drama minute 13:23 episode 2 I just don’t want to be at the company, but I just can’t dick around all day either let’s go.

PS It seems the screenshot won’t work here but I have it saved just in case.

Have you tried to ask the TE for WWW? While I will answer questions regarding any Korean terms, I don’t think it is my place to second guess someone else’s choice of particular word/phrase since I don’t consider myself to be the authority on Korean to English translations. This is probably why I don’t ever volunteer to be a TE for any shows.


Subbing teams usually have a google doc or something like that to ensure consistency throughout the drama, but that doesn’t always happen…also different teams may have different translation rules. Most of the time, it doesn’t really bother me, but now that I actually know a little bit of Korean, it’s slightly weird to hear one thing and see another.
It does bother me, though, when ‘like’ is translated to ‘love’ in some dramas…they are two different words- “좋아” for like and “사랑” for love. There must be a reason to choose to say like over love in the drama, and I feel interchanging them is just not right.
And ‘나쁜 놈’ literally means ‘bad man’, so sometimes I feel like the standard translation of ‘bastard’ is a little too strong, but I might be missing something because of the culture so…

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There is good reason why we sometimes put love instead of “like”
Korean “like” is much nearer to love than the Engish one. In English, like is something more shallow. You can like a woman, hang out with her, make out with her, maybe also have sex with her, go on dates etc. But in Korean dramas we’ve heard

  • “I like you too, I cannot live without you”
  • “I like you. Will you marry me?”
  • “What happened to you? You don’t eat, you’ve lost your sleep, you act like a crazy person. Do you perhaps like that girl?”
  • “We like each other so much. Our love may be destined, in that case we’ll meet again” (this was on a web drama I watched yesterday).
  • “I… I wanted to tell you I like you” Then, to her friend: “Hey, X confessed his love for me yesterday”

From these examples you may understand that for them, “like” is much nearer to “love” than it is for other languages. In cases like this, “like” would sound ridiculous and inadequate, even cheap.
Yes, “love” IS a step further, and they don’t say it easily, and sometimes they even make the distinction among the two:
“I like you… No, I love you!”
(Sorry I am not putting my sources here, I don’t remember, but I assure you that all these are from real dramas)
It’s the same in Chinese, they also have these two verbs (Wǒ xǐhuān nǐ and woaini), and from my limited viewing experience, exactly the same thing happens with those too.
How to translate? It’s a question of context, and common sense should be used. In some cases we could also use “I’m in love with you” instead of “I love you”, as there is a small nuance of difference in English. In teenage dramas we could also use “have a crush on”.

As for the insults, you’re right that they always put something heavier in English.This has been discussed a lot here. You may want to check out those threads:


I can imagine how terrible the translation in Spanish (I didn’t check) must be from those subtitles. I just stopped watching the drama by the second episode I went straight to last episode. They added so many extra words in the subtitles and it was so ridiculous to be pausing the scene just to catch up reading them. There’s no way there was a TE in that drama, and left those subtitles like that. That drama was aired a long time ago as far as I know so they should have been edited, and not left like that. Unless of course, the character/actor did used that word that btw makes no sense to me, at all.

I agree with you that if there is a word that can convey the same meaning without being vulgar, by all means we should use it instead. In defense of my fellow translators though, I have to admit that when we are trying to provide subtitles as fast as we can to satisfy the viewers, we sometimes have to go with the word choice that pops up first in our heads. It happens to me as well and sometimes I would go back and edit my own translations. This is why I think TEs and GEs have a huge responsibility but here again, editors have to look through hundreds and thousands of subtitles so if they happen to miss a few, I hope the viewers would understand. Now, if the subtitle qualities are poor throughout the episode then I agree that the English team and/or CM needs to be alerted somehow.


Hopefully, they see this and try to fix it, if they have the time. But for what I could see, it will be a handful of work.

PS. If is not too much to ask and hope I don’t offend you: The word D__ k or F__k, how you write it in Korean? the goggle is not giving me an answer.

PS they gave for the F word; Ruina/Ruin? mos-sseuge mandeulda

Community Verified icon

For D___detective/detective?

Koreans do swear but, to be honest, I am not sure of singular Korean words that would convey the same meaning as “D___” or “F___”.

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@mirjam_465. What’s up? hope all is well. waiting for your input. Found this but don’t think this word means that either bc I hear it often in some dramas.

Korean - detected
씨발 (ssi-bal)
ssibal (ssi-bal)
Fuck (ssi-bal)

ssi-bal sounds to me like: please/ jepal?

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Thanks. So so (chronic noise disturbance).
How are you? :slight_smile:

씨발 does indeed mean the f-word.

제발 (jebal) = please

That just means they use those kinds of words a lot. :wink:

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Sorry you still dealing with the noise. I’ve become immune to noises since they’re doing so much repairs in my area for so long now bc many new buildings are being built (like we need more).It also helps that my hearing in one ear is really bad, so I sleep on the side of the good one lol

Glad to see you around. What about the "D’’ one? Had no luck with finding that one. For those wondering why I insist on those two words: I want to make sure that from now on if those 2 words are written in a subtitle, is bc the character said it, not for who knows what sick reason a subber is adding a vulgar word like that. It has no need or place in a subtitle if the character/actor never said such thing.

Truly unnecessary may I say, and it has to stop. Is not bc I’m a ‘‘saint’’ but it takes away so much from a scene to see vulgar expressions like that, and is a disrespect to the actors/actress if they didn’t say such thing. If they are trying to be funny, they are failing miserably. I already send a messages on Ntfx about this issue and they haven’t responded yet. I’ll keep you posted.

That just means they use those kinds of words a lot. :wink:

PS. I was referring to the word [jebal] that I hear it a lot in dramas not [씨발 (ssi-bal)] I don’t think I’ve heard that in dramas (I did the goggle thingy, and don’t recall hearing that word in dramas). I thought they might sound the same but they don’t bc one is (shee) sound, and the other one is to me the (yep+…sound). Totally different that can be differentiated one from the other.
Thanks for the info!

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Thanks. Here too, but it makes me only more sensitive.

I’m not sure either. There is 음경 (eumgyeong), but that’s the more decent word.

I have to say translating swear words and the like is a challenge, since you can hardly ever translate it litterally. For example, the English word dickhead would not work if you litterally translated it into Dutch, so I would have to find a Dutch equivalent with the same feeling and the same level of rudeness.

I do agree with you that the translator shouldn’t make things more rude than they are.

You certainly wouldn’t want to mix those two words up when you’re talking to a Korean! :joy:

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God forbid. I would be so embarrassed if I said a curse word in Korean thinking it was something else. Thank you so much.

Btw I did checked the Spanish translation for that sub, and I’m happy to say the spanish subber had the decency to omit the D word.

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