Netflix Subtitles Sparked Controversy Again, Mistake Or Intention?

Netflix is once again controversial because their subtitles, making netizens wonder if it was a mistake or their intention

Episode 6 of Netflix’s original entertainment program “Super Rich in Korea”, which was released on May 7th, showed rich people making kimchi.

In that episode, the subtitle for kimchi was “辣白菜”, which means pickled spicy vegetables in Chinese. In 2021, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism already revised the Guidelines for Translation and Marking of Foreign Languages in Public Terms to specify kimchi in Chinese notation as “辛奇”.

netflix sub

Professor Seo Kyung-deok at Sungshin Women’s University said he immediately sent an e-mail to Netflix to complain about the subtitles. He emphasized, “As the issue of China trying to claim kimchi as theirs is still going on, the subtitle should be corrected as soon as possible as they may use it as an excuse”, adding “Last year, Netflix already caused a stir when they translated kimchi as ‘泡菜’ in several Chinese subtitles. I believe that a global company should pay more attention to such sensitive issues in the countries of their service”.

In this regard, Netflix said to TV Daily, “In order to help foreign viewers who know Chinese characters understand, we translated it as ‘辣白菜’, however, we’ve decided to mark kimchi in Korean content as ‘辛奇’ in the future to prevent unnecessary misunderstandings”, adding “We’ve already changed the controversial subtitle to ‘辛奇’”.

the bride of habaek

This is not the first time Netflix faced criticism for their subtitles. Earlier in the German subtitle of the movie “Time To Hunt” and the French subtitles of the drama “The Bride of Habaek”. The East Sea was translated as Sea of Japan, sparking controversy.

Despite being criticized several times, Netflix continued to repeat the mistake in the Spanish subtitles of their recent series “The 8 Show”. After receiving reports, Netflix responded, “We are revising our subtitles”, adding “We will review whether there are any similar cases and make sure to fix the translation”. Due to continuous subtitle issues, the credibility of Netflix has gradually decreased. Some even raised suspicions that Netflix intended to do it.

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