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Netflix: How Subtitling and Translation Contributed to the Success of Squid Game




Streaming services are on the rise. The days of watching movies and TV shows on DVDs and Blu-rays are coming to an end, as more people supplement their movie libraries by streaming content from various services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, and others.


In the early days of streaming services, when streaming content in a foreign language there is no built-in subtitle feature available. This has led many streaming service providers to offer subtitles in languages other than English.

Most streaming services now offer foreign language films with English subtitles. Leading the streaming pack is Netflix, which has a translated subtitles option for non-English speakers to watch movies in English.


But it’s not just limited to the English language. Netflix subscribers can enjoy movies with various dubbing and subtitles. A case in point is the widely popular South Korean survival drama series, Squid Game.



Squid Game: A Global Success

Squid Game was released on September 17, 2021, and is Netflix’s most-watched series to date, dethroning Bridgerton, released in 2020.


The nine-episode thriller follows the story of Seong Gi-Hun and hundreds of contestants who are all deeply in debt. They compete in a violent competition to win the top prize of 45.6 billion Won.


The compelling story and the unique concept wowed not just the Asian audience, which the series was initially marketed to, but also the western audiences. There was no intention to promote it to the US, but social media word of mouth proved to be so powerful that Squid Game became the sleeper hit of 2021.


What contributed to the huge success of Squid Game is its accessibility. The show is originally filmed in Korean but with Netflix’s subtitles, closed captions, and dubbing prowess, the show became available in several languages. It was dubbed in 34 languages and subtitles in 37 languages. As Netflix is able to offer the show in different languages, the show’s reach becomes massive.


Netflix Primary Assets

Netflix treats subtitles, closed captions, and dubbing as primary assets, unlike other streaming services that treat them as secondary assets. This means that accurate translations and subtitling are a critical part of Netflix’s efforts to expand its global reach.


This provides a way for viewers to watch a show in a language they don't know or understand with subtitles that translate the dialogue from those languages. Viewers can either have the subtitles on as they watch the video or use them as a guide while they toggle back and forth between the two. There are other reasons why viewers might choose this option, such as reading subtitles helps with the pronunciation of words.


The rise of streaming video has given consumers the ability to watch their favorite shows, movies, and videos on demand. The demand for this type of service has grown so much so that it now accounts for almost half of all internet traffic in North America. Imagine being able to have access to your favorite show any time you like without having to wait for a network to air them. This is what the future holds as streaming services are continually adapting to consumers’ needs.


Subtitling, Captioning, and Translation On Demand

What this means is that subtitling, captioning and translation services are important now more than ever. If you’re in the streaming service business, you must take a page from Netflix’s playbook and start treating subtitles, captions, dubbing, and translation as critical part of your streaming business.


Transcribing the audio from a video stream to text is a labor-intensive process, which can present significant difficulties if you have limited resources.


In order to remain true to the content and provide subtitle options to the viewers, it is essential that subtitles, translations, captions, and transcriptions are accurate and complete. Your business can accommodate this demand by outsourcing these tasks to us.



Umritun Subtitling and Translation Services


We understand that the popularity of streaming services has grown to a point where they are now primary sources for music, film and television. The rise in popularity of these services has also been accompanied by an increase in the demand for foreign language transcripts. In order to make these services more accessible to international audiences, there is a need for foreign language translation and subtitling in streaming services.


We have the resources and staff to do transcription, translation, and subtitling of movies, documentaries, short films, and other videos. Contact us so we can discuss how our process can help your streaming service achieve global reach through subtitling and translation services.



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