[MUSAI] The Golden Globe Winning Film ‘Minari’, the Power of Script Adaptation

2021-04-30

 

Minari actress Youn Yuh-jung has won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards. The film earned six nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress won by Youn, continuing the sensation brought by Bong Jun-ho’s Parasite last year.

[Image 1] “Minari” was nominated for 6 Oscar Awards (source: movie ‘Minari’ poster)

 

Youn Yuh-jung, Receiving Big Smile and Applause Over the Globe

The 72-year old actress’s wits were more than enough to evoke laughter and applause from the crowd, all over the world, giving a hilarious light-hearted remark calling British ‘snobbish’ during her award speech. She also did not forget to entertain Brad Pitt with her joke at the ceremony and showed her modesty and respect towards other nominated actresses.

[Image 2] Foreign press proclaimed Youn’s speech as the “best awards-acceptance speech of 2021,” (source: Yonhapnews Agency)

 

The Hidden contributor of the history-making of “Minari”: Translator Hong Yeo-ul

There is one person who the award-winning actress mentions and expresses gratitude in every interview: the translator Hong Yeo-ul. She participated in the script adaptation of “Minari” and also wrote the Korean lyrics for the theme song, the “Rain Song.” In the interview, actress Youn also unveiled the behind-the-scenes story of how she stayed for about a month and half working on an unexpected job adapting the script at the filming sited she originally only planned to visit.

Then, why did she stay there for such a long period of time for a script that was already translated in Korean? The answer was told in the interview of ‘MMTG’ with the actress. “The script had been translated in Korean, but it was all in written language, not colloquial,” said the actress, adding “we worked on the script almost every day, eating and sleeping in the same room, talking with the director and all actors.”

[Image 3] MMTG EP.173, Interview with the actress, Youn Yuh-jung (source: ‘MMTG’ YouTube)

Discussing with all actors, Hong Yeo-ul transformed all-formal literarily written script into smooth colloquial language, and this adaptation process has given more dimension to the character. This, depicted by the actress, was the hidden key-factor of the success of the film.

 

Script Adaptation. How to Do It in Games?

Scrip adaptation is crucial not only for movies or dramas, but also in games as well. This is what we, Musai Studio, have been emphasizing constantly. As mentioned above, since there is a big difference between written language and spoken language, translated captions cannot be used as scripts for the actors. Actress Youn’s episode, revising the English-written scripts translated into Korean before shooting expresses how important script adaptation is. Especially for dubbing games, which is a process of adding audio into already produced videos, it is essential to match the length, and also has to express and convey emotion and characteristics only with the actors’ voice, script adaptation is crucial.

Then, what is most important in advising scripts? Converting written language into colloquial language comes first. No matter how good the translation is, anything translated for writings has its limits. Since the main purpose of translation is to convey the original meaning, free translation or paraphrase can be taken as a mistranslation. On the other hand, script adaptation is to revise the written texts into colloquial language, containing their original meaning. Thus, the language used in everyday life, tones reflecting character’s personality, the atmosphere in each situation, and the use of honorifics according to the relationship between characters, etc. are considered in an adaptation process.

Furthermore, it is important to create lines that the users can empathize with. In the interview by JTBC Newsroom (https://news.joins.com/article/24044243), translator Hong Yeo-ul mentioned ‘which drawer did this to you?’ as the most memorable lines she translated. ‘In the movie,’ she said, ‘when the grandson David stamps his feet on a dresser and bleeds, grandma (by actress Youn) comes and asks him this angrily,’ adding, ‘this scene reminded her of her grand parents’ tremendous love, always embracing any flaw and mistake, and rather asking who hurt my grandchild?’ even when she made trouble. She intended to ‘express their endless love with the line,’ The interviewer, emphasizing the story, also agreed that she had a similar experience in her childhood.

[Image 4] JTBC Newsroom interview with translator Hong Yeo-ul (source: JTBC Newsroom)

 

We can find a similar example in games as well. Jaewoon Yu, director of Musai Studio, participated in the script adaptation of Cyberpunk 2077, recalls ‘‘Jenkins,’ V’s superior’s line in a scene where he says something like ‘if I do my work, she goes nuts, if I don’t do my work, she goes frantic, that f***ing b**ch,’ This line is basically re-created to match Korean culture and sentiments and successfully received positive responses and brought empathy on the users, especially on the office workers. Through such examples, we can see a good script is not something that is constituted of colorful words and phrases, but something that people living in the same era can relate to, and such lines can make huge impression. (see: Hidden Contributor of Cyberpunk 2077 Korean Localization: Script Adaptation  feat. Secrets Behind the Effective Use of Slangs in Games) http://blog.musaistudio.com/musai-hidden-contributor-of-cyberpunk-2077-korean-localization-script-adaptation-feat-secrets-behind-the-effective-use-of-slangs-in-games)

 

Smart Translation and Adaptation Stand in the Spotlight

Translation, regardless of its genre, has not received much worth attention, although it is the essential part for any cultural content to reach the global market. However, the emergence of Darcy Paquet, who translated ‘자빠구리(Jjappaguri)’ into Ramdon’ in Parasite, Sharon Choi, who delivered Bong Joon-ho’s wits with ‘one-inch barrier,’ and Yeo-ul Hong, who conveyed the depth of the character and the original script of ‘Minari’ via revising the whole script was enough to show that translation is not just to convert languages, but something that can lay huge effect on the success and quality of the work. Especially in games, which users participate in the contents, with increasing demand in voice localization, high-quality dubbing to increase the level of immersion and improve end-user experience is becoming one of the success factors. As we, Musai studio, consistently emphasized the importance of script adaptation, such change of trend delights us. But at the same time, we do feel responsible, as one of the mainstays of game sound localization studio in Korea. Thus, we will continue to do our best to fulfill gamers’ expectations and deliver the best quality product to our users.

 

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