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“Even when reading backwards, it’s Woo Young-woo, like tomato, Swiss,… Yeoksam Station?” A pain in the neck for translator on Netflix

Superb translation of the ENA Wednesday-Thursday drama “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” is becoming a hot topic. 

An article titled “The highest difficulty ever, the Netflix translators have given up” was posted on the online community theqoo on July 5th.

This post captured the first episode of channel ENA Wednesday-Thursday drama “Extraordinary Attorney Woo,” which is being released simultaneously on Netflix.

Woo Young-woo, the main character in the work, is a rookie lawyer with a genius brain and autism spectrum at the same time.

When she introduces herself, she always explains, “Even if you read it forward or backward, it’s Woo Young-woo,” adding, “Like goose, tomato, Swiss, Indian, shooting star.” Such words, numbers, and sentences, which are the same despite being read forward or backward, are called “hoemun” in Korean or “reversible” in English.

Global video service Netflix has translated the three-syllable reversible words in Woo Young-woo’s self-introduction remarks into English reversible words such as “Kayak”, “deed”, “rotator”, “non”, and “racar”. However, there is a separate word that Netflix, which has translated numerous Korean works into foreign languages, cannot touch. 

Woo Young-woo, who came to work for the first time, introduces herself as usual, saying, “I’m Woo Young-woo even if you read it forward or backward,” adding, “Like Kayak, deed, rotator, non and racar.” However, Woo Young-woo then came up with a new three-syllable reversible and added “Yeoksam-yeok” in a low voice. 

In Netflix English subtitles, Yeoksam-yeok is translated into Yeoksam Station. 

After seeing this, Korean netizens responded in various ways, such as “It is difficult to translate Yeoksam-yeok,” “It is regrettable that they fail to translate Yeoksam-yeok,” and “I feel the agony of the translator.”

Meanwhile, “Extraordinary Attorney Woo,” which first aired on Jun 29th, recorded a 2.0% viewer rating in the first two episodes, and the highest viewer rating per minute soared to 2.7% (based on paid households in Nielsen Korea). This is the highest ratings of the ENA channel itself.

Source: wikitree

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