… in Translation

Culture, Language

I have to admit being completely hooked on ABCs TV series Lost. One of the amazing things about the show is that the writers and producers have taken a real risk by having so much dialog in Korean. That’s why I was interested to read this interview with Daniel Dae Kim, one of the show’s stars. It turns out that in the episode, .. in Translation” over half the dialog was in Korean, with English subtitles. It is hard to underestimate how groundbreaking this is. America is a country where movie studios will pay millions to remake a foreign language film rather than risk loosing money by promoting the original language version. Trailers for foreign language films are always overdubbed so as not to scare off potential viewers (although I’m happy to say that is now changing). I’m often convinced that foreign language films would do fine if the studios would spend serious money promoting them — and it would be far cheaper than making a lousy remake — so I’m glad to see that one of the top rated shows on broadcast television is willing to take such a risk.

Yoon-jin Kim is already a big star in Korea, and I remember hearing somewhere that the show’s creators wrote the part for her. Although she was raised in the US, it seems her Korean is better than Daniel Dae Kim, who worries about his American accent, although it doesn’t seem to bother most Koreans, who are happy to see Korean characters featured so prominently on American TV.

More information on Lost via the unofficial fan site.

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