‘Squid Game’ exposes issue with English vs English CC | Hearing Like Me

There has been a lot of talk over English vs English CC thanks to the Netflix series “Squid Game.” What is the difference between the two? How does this impact deaf and hard of hearing viewers?

English Subtitles

Not only do captions help if you can’t hear, but they also help when the person watching does not know the language being spoken. Over the past couple of months, there has been a lot of buzz around the hit Netflix show “Squid Game” by Hwang Dong-hyuk. It is a Korean show where people desperate for cash are invited to play children games in order to win a huge payout. Since there are various dubbed language options, many choose to watch in the original language and rely on captions. For English, there are two options: English and English [CC].

If you do a quick Google search, you quickly learn that the English subtitles are considered the more accurate of the two. If you do not know the difference, English [CC] has speaker identification, dialogue, sound effects, and music description. English just tells you what is spoken. Basically, we ended up with two versions of subtitles, with English [CC] being sometimes referred to as “the dumb one.”

Why English and English CC?

But why do we need two versions of English? Why isn’t there speaker identification, dialogue, sound effects, and music descriptions in the English subtitles as well? The answer is that these are two types of Audiovisual Translations, or AVT. The first one, English, is subtitles. Subtitles assume the person can hear and process sounds, and so translates the dialogue only. The second one, English CC or English SDH, are captions. These captions assume the person is either deaf/HOH or has difficulty processing sound. For the most part, English subtitles are seen with foreign films/shows.

The English CC or SDH are often the transcript for a movie or show. If the movie/show is in your native tongue, then the captions are more likely to match the spoken dialogue. You’re also less likely to see two English options when a movie or show is in English. However, when the language spoken is different than the language it is transcribed into, then some discrepancies come about. The reason for this is the way the subtitles and captions are made.

Read more: