Is ’90 Day Fiancé’ Purposely Misleading Viewers Or Do They Need to Translate Better?

The show 90 Day Fiance has featured international relationships from across the globe. Usually, at least one half of a couple is from the United States, but these long-distance relationships have been all over.

Subjects of the show have come from as far away as Samoa, Australia, the Philippines, and Tunisia. The show has filmed people from dozens of countries, both after their trip to the U.S. and in their own home countries.

But the subjects don’t always speak English. That means a lot of subtitles. Unfortunately, 90 Day Fiance has been called out by fans a few times for mistranslations. But are these mistakes actually on purpose?

There are a few examples of mistranslations on ’90 Day Fiance’ 

90 Day Fiance wouldn’t be the first reality show to manufacture extra drama. Sometimes real life is boring. By mistranslating some of the dialogue, it could be that producers hope to create more conflict, or sway viewers in certain ways.

For example, one Redditor called out a mistranslation in Jihoon and Deavan’s story. Apparently Jihoon said something that was subtitled as “I don’t really have a real job.”

The fan thought that this was TLC trying to catch Jihoon in a lie, since he previously claimed he had a job. But that’s not actually what he said. According to the Redditor, what Jihoon said was more along the lines of: “I don’t really have a real career.”

In Korean, there are two words for job. One translates to a full-time career, and the other would translate to something like part-time jobs. Jihoon was saying that he doesn’t have a real career, just part-time gigs.

This is a significant difference in this context. TLC could have had fans thinking Jihoon lied to Deavan, and it may have set fans against him. 

Some couples rely 100% on translation

David and Lana of '90 Day Fiancé'
David and Lana of ’90 Day Fiancé’ | Instagram @davidjmurphey

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It’s hard to say whether or not TLC is doing this on purpose. It could be that the show is using a kind of translating app instead of local translators, which can often lead to these kinds of mistakes. These apps are pretty well known on the show, considering some couples rely on them exclusively.

David met his long time girlfriend Lana in Ukraine on the latest season of 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days, and they’ve been communicating with online translation for the seven years they’ve been together. When they met up in person, they each spoke into a translation app on David’s phone to communicate. 

Karine and Paul also had to text back and forth at the beginning of their relationship, before Paul learned Portuguese or Karina learned English. Anna and Mursel also only communicated through technology. Although it seemed to work out for them, the translation of Mursel was another instance fans called out as mistranslated.

Apparently TLC translated Mursel as telling his parents, “Anna has three children,” when really he told them something more akin to “I just found out Anna has three children.” The latter implies that Anna lied about her three children, which wasn’t the case.

But Mursel didn’t want his parents to know that he was knowingly dating a single mom. Again, viewers could have been swayed by the mistranslation. Fans may have been sympathetic to Mursel, when really he doesn’t deserve much sympathy after that behavior. 

’90 Day Fiance’ may be purposely misleading viewers in other ways 

Fans have called out 90 Day Fiance for purposely misleading viewers before, and it didn’t have to do with the translations. There have been allegations that some of the storylines are faked. Jay, who cheated on his brand new wife Ashley multiple times, claims that the cheating was staged. Of course, he looked bad for stepping out, and he would look better if the show was fake. 

Some of Jay’s castmates have spoken out as well. Others haven’t gone so far as to say the show is fake, but they do complain about the editing. It’s natural for a reality show to edit the footage to make things look more dramatic. It’s no surprise that some footage is edited to make cast members look better or worse. But purposefully mistranslating people’s words would be a step to far.