An Open Letter to Netflix RE: Subtitles

Dear Netflix,

I love your service. I love Netflix. I really do. I’ve been paying for the service now for about three or four years and I use it pretty regularly.  And while some people have a lot of complaints about it mine have been relatively few and far between. Besides that one time they took down Adam-12 for a good year or so right after I moved back to the States from Ireland and their failure to renew a few contracts, I can’t really remember a time that I was actually upset with Netflix about anything. And even then I’ve never considered cancelling my subscription.

To be fair, I’m not considering cancelling my subscription now either.

But I am a little upset.

As someone who is half deaf I sometimes rely on subtitles when watching shows and movies. The television in my bedroom always has them on no matter what I’m doing – watching TV, streaming Netflix, playing video games. It just helps me keep track of what’s going on. When I’m listening to a show in the background I’m okay with missing a few words or lines of dialogue here and there. That’s my fault. I’m not paying attention. But when I really sit down to watch something, I do pay attention to the subtitles. Even if I don’t need them for that particular show or movie, it’s just sort of instinctual.

Most of the time the closed captioning is pretty spot on. Networks are pretty good about it and video games, too, transcribe word for word in-house because they know the dialogue. And while your servie offers subtitles on an increasing amount of content – and you plan to offer it on all of that programming by 2014 - that doesn’t mean that the subtitles are offering the same experience.

And that I have a problem with.

I first became aware of issues with you subtitle offerings a few months ago when in a fit of Kevin Bacon appreciation I decided to watch the original Footloose. At first I wasn’t really paying all that much attention to the subtitles or the film itself, I just had it playing in the background while I worked on something for my internship. But when I started to watch the movie in earnest I realized something. The dialogue was not matching up to the subtitles.

Or, rather, the subtitles were not matching up to the dialogue that was being spoken.

The full line is: "If we could get one of them to dance - just one of them - then that was it. We'd get out on the floor and we'd really start to smoke." Netflix limited the dialogue to: "If one would dance, that was it. We'd really start to smoke." It takes away the full effect of Ren's embellishment and storytelling. It also removes the context of what "We'd really start to smoke" means.

The full line is: “If we could get one of them to dance – just one of them – then that was it. We’d get out on the floor and we’d really start to smoke.” Netflix limited the dialogue to: “If one would dance, that was it. We’d really start to smoke.” It takes away the full effect of Ren’s embellishment and storytelling. It also removes the context of what “We’d really start to smoke” means.

Frequently I would notice that a lot of the lines, when transcribed into subtitles, had been shortened or rewritten so that the grammar was different, the words more straight to the point, etc.

The point of what was being said was getting across but not in the same way it would for someone who wasn’t relying on the subtitles.  Some of the times they shortened what was being said it changed the tone or context a little bit to the point where, yes, you know what’s being said but not how it’s being said. Not exactly. Like, if someone is telling you something but trying to edge around the topic before getting to the point that generally means something. But when the subtitles just bluntly say what is being said in a more direct manner that indirectness is lost.

I contacted you via your customer service option – I think it was on the Netflix Facebook page but I am honestly not sure now – about it but the guy who responded seemed to think that the subtitles were just being cut short. I tried explaining to him that, no, they were just being condensed or changed around but it didn’t seem to get across.

I’ve noticed similar things happening now and again in other shows and movies, too. For whatever reason, though, Footloose is by far the worst about it. Some shows do it now and then which is fine. Usually it doesn’t take away from the story, context, or tone. Having the dialogue shortened or changed around once or twice doesn’t ruin a movie or a show. It’s fine. With Footloose, though, the whole movie was plagued with numerous changes.

It was distracting.

What’s equally distracting is what’s going on with the subtitles in Breaking Bad.

The issues with the subtitles in that show were probably even more annoying. Not because they were shortening or changing the dialogue but because I wasn’t actually getting to read the full dialogue.

Breaking Bad is a gritty, violent show. It’s about making and dealing meth! There are drugs being made, sold, and people getting killed left and right. I mean, at one point there’s a guy’s head mounted to a tortise that then explodes and sends limbs flying. There’s some crazy stuff going on. People curse like crazy. It’s just part of the show. It’s what happens.

So why don’t the subtitles in this show let me actually see what’s being said?

bb-tucogoddamncensored

I don’t even remember what he said there. This is why it’s a problem.

The language is the least of this show’s problems or the viewer’s problems.

Except Netflix, apparently, feels like people who rely on subtitles ought to be spared that foul language. For some reason, the show is censored. The entirety of Season One (that’s as far as I’ve gotten by the time I’m writing this) has been censored. All of the episodes were censored. Any time someone says anything even remotely objectionable the subtitles will place a “—-” instead of the word. With this show that basically means that there are occasionally lines of dialogue that are reduced to a series of lines.

And they are way too overzealous in their censorship, too. I mean, they cut out ‘balls’ at one point. Balls! Like that’s really on par with shit, damn, crap, etc.

This wasn’t by any fault of my own. I have no parental controls or anything on my Netflix account. I was using the regular English subtitles option. There was no option to have them censored for foul language. Why would there be on a show like this? Like I said, there are way more objectionable things going on. Way more objectionable things.

bb-awshitcensored

I sort of object to Sparky being used liked this – especially by someone who didn’t even go to ASU! (Unless Jesse did go to ASU then fine.)

You know what, though? That’s not even the point. If someone is watching a show with subtitles they ought to have the same sort of experience. Or they ought to at least have as close to the same experience as possible. I know that me watching a show will never be the same as someone with perfect hearing in both ears. Similarly, my watching a show will never be the same as someone who is completely deaf where I am only half deaf.

But if someone says “Kill that motherfucker!” then shouldn’t everyone be able to have the same shocked reaction to the word ‘motherfucker’ as anyone else? Why should people using subtitles be spared? Alternatively, why should they be deprived? I’m watching this show because I know people are going to be doing crazy, illegal things. I mean, that’s not why I’m watching it. But I know it’s going to happen and I am okay with that.

I’m just as fine with someone shouting the f word at someone else or dropping f-bombs left and right. If I weren’t, I wouldn’t be watching this show. If you want to offer censored subtitles then fine. Do it. But make it optional. Some of us want our gritty television to stay gritty.

I mean, I’m glad that you have made as much progress in providing subtitles as you have in the past few years, Netflix. Your commitment to making them available for your entire catalog by next year is really great.

But, Netflix, c’mon. Either you are dropping the ball here or you’re just doing things half-assed and I expect more from you! You’re awesome. I know you’re awesome. So show it!

Sincerely,

Three-or-Four Year Subscriber Sam Wildman

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Has anyone else noticed any issues with Netflix’s subtitles that go beyond just regular technical errors? Let us know in the comments!

47 responses to “An Open Letter to Netflix RE: Subtitles

  1. Some very interesting examples. I too have noticed some errors when watching content with subtitles but the ones you display here are a lot worse. Netflix crowd sources its subtitles – perhaps there needs to be greater checks put in pace before submitting the final subtitle files?

    • Maybe, Honestly, I have no problem alerting them to issues with Netflix – I’m in that position where I can still hear but also rely on subtitles so that’s something I can do. Having people self-police the subtitles that are submitted and request changes isn’t exactly the best solution, I’m sure. It would, however, help. But I have no reason to believe they would even respond and fix things considering my past experiences. When I reported the Footloose issue months ago I didn’t get any sort of helpful response and I took the screen cap I posted the day before I published this post.so clearly no one looked into it. It would help if there were away to submit feedback about subtitles where they didn’t just automatically assume it was a technical error of some kind.

  2. One of my pet peeves is censored music – I hate it when words are obscured for my delicate ears. Having words obscured like this has got to be ten times worse though…In case you’re interested, Stream Nation lets you stream any video of your choosing from your account and you can add subtitles to videos too. Ours are powered by opensubtitles.org but *soon* (ahem, this week) we’ll be supporting the upload of SRT files so you can just add your own.

  3. As part of the legal settlement agreement in which Netflix agreed to subtitle their streaming content, Netflix must provide the court with a regular report which includes user complaints as related to subtitles.

    To report a problem for Instant Play content, while on the Netflix.com site, go to Your Queue and click on the Report Problem link on the right-hand side. Click the box marked “Problems with subtitles” and include any additional details related to the problem.

    This process must be followed in order for the Court and Netflix to know that whether the quality of the subtitles is fulfilling, or not, the conditions of the settlement agreement.

    So, if you care about the quality of subtitles provided by Netflix, use the “Report Problem” button for every low quality subtitled video that you experience.

    It will make a difference.

    • Thanks for this, I will shortly be reporting how s5 e10 of Dexter suddenly has censored subtitles. I too am only a bit hearing impaired and use the subtitles so I don’t miss anything.
      For some reason on this episode they are replacing all swears with milder words. It’s making Debs sound totally bizarre… When has she ever said ‘forget you’???

      • I just do not understand the rationalization behind censoring the closed captions – especially when the audio isn’t censored. If they did it for both then I would understand. But clearly Netflix isn’t concerned with language or content considering how gritty they’ve made theirs. And, anyway, the original broadcasts for Dexter, for example, were uncensored and I assume the closed captioning on Showtime was uncensored so… it’s almost like someone had go to go back and choose to censor the closed captions.

      • I can assure you that none of the caption editors at CaptionMax take it upon themselves to censor captions, ever. That would be offensive and disrespectful, and our whole mission is to duplicate the experience that the hearing audience enjoys. We caption what we hear, whether that’s exuberant obscenity, wacky profanity substitutes, or “bleeps” that replace words that are illegal on TV in some time slots.

        For many TV series there are multiple versions, such as one that airs on premium cable where they can cuss at will, and a “clean” version for syndication, for which the actors or voiceover artists record alternate dialogue that includes words like “scumsucker.” We are generally asked to create captions for both versions, and we caption whatever dialogue is present in each video we receive from the producers. It sounds like Netflix received the clean caption file for this episode instead of the file that matched the audio in the streaming version. We are aware of this issue and have notified the people who can fix it, and it should be resolved soon. We will be freakin’ happy as spit when that happens, gosh dang.

      • Emily, that actually makes a lot of sense! Now I am less angry when it happens because I no longer think some overly-moralistic captioner is imposing their views on me… :D
        Thank you for replying and for working on sorting it, you’re the first ‘industry’ person who has responded.

  4. The fact that the lack of a legal option to watch Netflix is certainly costing them money in Australia seems a rather silly move on their part. However at the moment, officially there are no plans for Netflix to head there. It is sure to happen eventually but until it does according to CHOICE and other consumer organizations Aussies will just keep finding other ways to access Netflix anyway.

  5. Netflix subtitling really gets my goat!
    In one of the episodes in ‘Fringe’ one of the characters says a spanish phrase, it was kind of the point of the episode, and how they found the man. EVERY TIME he said that phrase it was subbed into something English, and I don’t mean they just translated it, they actually just wrote words which sounded similar to what he was saying ,eg if he’d have said ‘una dos tres’ I’m pretty sure they would have subbed it as ‘Wanna do trees’.
    And whats worse is they didn’t even keep their awful subbing consistant! They kept changing their made up sentence!
    I can’t remember what episode it was now, so can’t say what it actually was but it was just ridiculous.
    Also, the spelling mistakes are also much too common.
    And sometimes they sub extra lines in, which aren’t actually said by the characters which is just so weird. I guess they may have been on a different script that the subtitler transcribed from? Who knows.

    And it’s not just Fringe. I watch A LOT on Netflix, and all the subtitles are just as bad. Some shows still don’t even have them.

    I’m only very slightly hard of hearing in one ear and don’t need subtitles but I just like to watch things with subtitles! It kind of makes me think that subtitlers don’t think people will notice because ‘only deaf people use subtitles’. But they’re wrong, we do notice, and we find it ridiculous that they would think it’s okay that people who can’t hear the show, don’t deserve to know what is actually going on.

    • The inconsistency is the worst. At this point I’m just like, “Fine, if you’re going to have shitty subtitles on a show at least have them be equally shitty across the whole series!” It gets super annoying.

    • Yeah, Fringe is pretty bad, to the point that a license plate Olivia recites in Season 4.2 isn’t even remotely close to the subs. I’m guessing that just OCRed the script (though why they call Alternate Olivia “Bolivia” is beyond me).

  6. I agree entirely. Another Netflix subtitle annoyance: If you’re watching an English-language movie that includes one or more scenes of dialog in a language other than English, many times the film itself includes English subtitles at that point so the audience doesn’t need to understand Russian (or whatever) in order to know what’s going on. But Netflix very ‘helpfully’ overlays [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] on top of the movie’s subtitles, so not only can you not understand the speech, you can’t read it either. Gaah!

  7. I know! It’s awful. Breaking Bad usually translated it’s own Spanish… then Netflix would go and translate it, too, and superimpose it over the show’s hardcoded texts so I had no idea what was being saying half the time. Unless I hunkered down and really tried to draw on my high school Spanish, lol.

  8. I always use subtitles, basically for all the same reasons…. But sometimes they are so awful I feel I could do a better job myself, and that’s especially bad considering the fact that I feel the need to use subtitles in the first place. The problem I’m currently experiencing with subtitles on Netflix right now is even worse than what you’ve mentioned… It seems that I’m being given dialogue from an entirely different episode. I’m watching the Australian TV show ‘Killing Time’ and when accents are involved it’s hard for me to pick everything up. So what, am I supposed to rewind every 5 minutes and listen very carefully??? Even then I may miss a bit.

  9. I have a problem with C C on netflix. The subtitles just freeze and so do all other controls. No pausing, FF, NOTHING. I called Netflix support two times. “We are working on it”. 4 months they have been working on it. I am hard of hearing so this sucks. I can reboot and resume but it only works briefly. What’s up Netflix?

  10. I agree that the subtitle thing is a problem.
    Another thing I’ve noticed is they have inconsistencies with the music- the show will be playing one song, but the subtitles of the lyrics will be for a completely different song. Also, something weird is that occasionally the subtitles will be different for seemingly no reason. I get that maybe with the music they didn’t get the rights, but I mean really just changed.
    I can’t remember which episode of Parks and Recreation it was, but one of them had someone speaking Leslie Knope’s birthday, and the subtitles listed something completely different. I mean, it’s not a music copyright issue, it’s not an attempt to censor, it’s just totally random.
    Anyway, what I want most is subtitles in DIFFERENT LANGUAGES! I have found that watching something with English dialogue while reading the words below is a great way to learn/practice a foreign language.
    I think some of the problems with subtitle accuracy is due to *whoever* using speech recognition software on computers instead of humans to transcribe.
    I often find myself wondering “Who was sitting there subtitling this? Why did they write that? Why do they caption ‘speaking foreign language’ over hard-subbed captions? Was the guy just not paying attention?”
    I have to wonder now if there actually IS a guy sitting there. I could be that guy.
    (Also – my hearing is fine, but I watch everything with captions anyway – you pick up on more of whatever you’re watching, and they are just interesting to me for whatever reason.)

  11. I’ve definitely noticed this. I don’t really like using subtitles when I’m watching regular shows, as I get distracted from the show and stare at the words, instead. However, when I watch anime, I like to watch it in Japanese, so naturally I need the subtitles to understand what there saying. Often times there are whole sentences cut out, and one of the characters has a dramatic reaction, that leaves me wondering, “What did he/she just say?!” Either I have to rewind it and change the language to English to find out, or just ignore it and continue watching. It happens several time in each episode, which is what makes it so annoying.

  12. My gripe is that some english language movies that contains some important scenes, that are spoken in a language other than english, have no subtitles whatsoever. This is irritating beyond belief. I know having seen some of these movies in the theater, that there should be subtitles but on netflix there don’t seem to be any subtitles except for the english which makes it even more annoying. I am not hearing impaired, but I do use subtitles at night time and to understand the foreign dialogue within a film. To omit these lines of subtitles altogether is criminal when they are sometimes key to the plot or storyline. I can’t bring myself to watch a film that is like this.

    • I agree. It’s a lot of their movies that just freeze sub titles as well well as remote functions. You have to reboot the movie to restore subtitles and remote functions. Netflix is aware of this problem for over a year and still no fix. Sad!

      Sent from Charles’ I Phone

      >

  13. I LOVE netflix!!! It is literally my life! The only thing that i suggest is to put all of the seasons of my favorite show up on Netflix! It is called “Arrow”. I know it came out Oct. 2012, but i just watched it and it would make me so very happy to finish the series!!! Thank u for reading! I Love Netflix!

  14. How come Eurasian movies come with English and other languages, but you do not use English when I watch these movies I haven’t reading disability so I can’t keep up with the subtitles I know they come in English I look through the literature and see the English on the DVD. For a lot of us out there who can keep up with the subtitles it’s unfair but like to know why thank you

  15. The Netflix subtitles in pale yellow frequently cannot even be seen against a light background. And they are not showing up on many screens at all. I am so frustrated I am considering going back to the DVD option, wherein the subtitles actually work.

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  17. [Breaking Bad spoilers]

    God, the Breaking Bad subtitles were beyond horrible. Like, literal seconds after watching a body melted by acid, they’d be censoring the word “fuck,” which is bizarre enough to seriously ruin your immersion.

  18. I just found this article and wanted to comment on it because I also hate the Netflix subtitles but for an entirely different reasons. I am attempting to become fluent in Spanish and because of this I like to watch American movies with dubbed Spanish dialogues. I can access the Latin American version of Netflix ( where most of the movies created in the U.S. are available with English conversation, Spanish dubbed conversation, Spanish subtitles or Portuguese subtitles (and a few with English CLOSED captioning , not subtitles). The problem is that because my listening comprehension skills in Spanish are far worse than my speaking, writing or reading comprehension skills, I often don’t catch what’s being said.

    So I usually like to turn on subtitles. So, Spanish dialogues with Spanish subtitles, shouldn’t they match? They never do. My listening comprehension isn’t great but I had my Spanish teacher watch a movie with me and at least 95% of the subtitles used different vocab from the dialogue. And I’m not just talking about synonym substitution either, although this occurs frequently. It seems like the folks who created the Spanish subtitles made every effort to have them be as different as possible from the Spanish audio. I was watching The Departed three months ago, for example, and this is a movie that I’ve seen probably 15 times in English, so I can recite entire sections of the dialogue from memory. The subtitles totally ruined some parts of the movie because they are saying dramatically different things from what the voice actors are saying in Spanish. And this is hardly an isolated problem. Practically EVERY single movie that Netflix has had or bought dubbed into Spanish has different subtitles. The English closed captioned subtitles for this movie, however, were 99.9% perfect. I checked. It was almost completely word-for-word, but with a couple cut-offs at the end of scenes.

    I cannot seem to find any movies on Netflix that have English audio with non-closed captioned English subtitles to test to see if this is similar to the problems you’ve experienced. I’ve found Netflix movies with English audio and English closed captioning like what you talked about, but this is different. From what I understand about closed captioning and from what you wrote, it is a word for word transcription of what is being said so it is exactly the same in the audio and closed captioning. Netflix lists this option as English (CC) under subtitles. They don’t put a (CC) after the Spanish or Portugese options because they are not word for word. They are crap. I have not been able to find any movies with English non-CC subtitles (without that (CC) in parentheses) in order to determine if those subtitles are as crappy as the Spanish non-CC ones have been.

    75% of the actual words are different in the Spanish subtitles versus the Spanish dubbed audio, and I have confirmed this with y Spanish teacher. Quizas and tal vez, to give you a basic example, are basically synonyms in Spanish, but often times the subtitles will say tal vez and the audio will say quizas in movies on Netflix. It is pathetic, and obviously sub-par for those of us who are trying to learn a second langage and struggle with auditory comprehension because we don’t have a huge vocabulary yet . I like watching shows from Univision’s TV channel because I can record them on the DVR with Spanish closed captioning and Spanish audio and then I can read a word-for-word transcription of what they said, pause it and play it back while I try to listen to the Spanish. Trying to improve Spanish skills with Netflix, however, seems to me to be impossible. But here’s my final question about this that’s more relevant to your situation: those Netflix customers with hearing issues and also happen to be native Spanish speakers living in Latin America, don’t they deserve at least the same level of competence from Netflix then you’re getting? Don’t get me wrong, your experience sounds sub-par, but at least your subtitles are closed-captioning so they’re on point most of the tie. The deaf in Latin America are getting an even worse experience because their subtitles aren’t closed-captioned like the English ones. The subtitles to be have been done by completely separate companies than by those who did the audio dubbing, and these folks would definitely not be able to fully enjoy these movies with only the Spanish subtitles. And if those people could get their needs met by having closed-captioned Spanish subtitles instead of half-baked attempts to kind of convey the same thing, then I would be able to piggyback on their efforts and it would also help me with my goal of improving my Spanish. Sorry for the rant, but I’ve met a couple of native Spanish speakers who have severe hearing issues and I wouldn’t advise them to subscribe to Netflix for this reason.

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  21. Here’s another problem with foreign language subtitles. At a Film Festival, I just watched The Square (about Egypt) produced by Netflix and many of the subtitles in white appeared on a white background. Impossible to read. Everything that was said in that documentary was important and to have it obscured was beyond annoying. Now I learn from previous postings that the subtitles might not even have been accurate? Netflix, why go to the trouble of having a production associated with your company if it isn’t going to be something you can be proud of??

  22. I’m not deaf but I use Netflix subtitles for foreign language shows. The subtitles on The Bridge are clearly an abridged version of the dialogue in many scenes, which is frustrating. It mostly seems to happen when the dialogue is quite fast paced, with two or more characters speaking in short bursts. They need to get a grip of this otherwise Amazon will blow them away.

  23. I was just going to mention The Bridge as well, the subtitles are so bad that frequently back and forth dialogue is shortened to a single line for each character, which presumably captures the gist of the dialogue but leaves you feeling like you’re missing the conversation.

  24. As a deaf user of Netflix this describes my experience perfectly. I remember seeing ‘the cable guy’ was on there (DVD contains no subtitles so I haven’t seen it since the days of video when I recorded it off the tv with subtitles myself). I put it on however like footloose it was pretty much changed word for word something like “slip the cable guy 20 bucks asking for a favor and he’ll know what you mean” is pretty much shortens to “slip him 20″.

    Another problem is watching a multilingual film such as shanghai noon, the English subtitle track deactivates foreigne subtitle tracks and there’s whole sequences in Japanese and native American languages, or in some cases the foreign words are subtitles but the English is omitted. I’ve heard lots of negative things about ‘only god forgives’ and I didn’t even make it through the first twenty minutes not out of boredom but out of frustration. I was annoyed having to change the subtitles back and forth unaware when which language was being spoken.

    The worst thing is building up a list and finding out nearly 60% of the things on it have no subtitles even though on DVD, TV, Blu-Ray or via an online Internet search they clearly have accessible subtitles.

    I’m not slandering netflix’s actual streaming services as I am a massive fan. I’ve converted my whole family into Netflix users but the subtitles when compares to the us Netflix (only found one film with no subtitles on the us one but it was added on a week later after I commented on twitter regarding the film) are poor.

  25. A lot of the sub- titles on Foyle’s War and many other shows I’ve watched have not been shortened or censored, they’re just plain wrong. Whoever is getting paid to produce the text must be paid by the program because they’re certainly not paid for accuracy.

  26. Just tried to watch “The Good Shephard,” with subtitles that were sometimes missing for as long as a minute, and generally skipped every other line of dialogue, rendering the plot so murky I was unable to follow it.

  27. God, the Breaking Bad subtitles were beyond horrible. Like, literal seconds after watching a body melted by acid, they’d be censoring the word “fuck,” which is bizarre enough to seriously ruin your immersion.

  28. I’m not deaf but I use Netflix subtitles for foreign language shows. The subtitles on The Bridge are clearly an abridged version of the dialogue in many scenes, which is frustrating. It mostly seems to happen when the dialogue is quite fast paced, with two or more characters speaking in short bursts. They need to get a grip of this otherwise Amazon will blow them away.

  29. I wear hearing-aids and always put the subtitles on for Netflix even though I can get along just fine without them in most cases, for exactly the same reasons that you like watching with the subtitles on. Right now, I’m watching The Breakfast Club on Netflix for the first time (I’ve seen TBC hundreds of times before but always on DVD, and my DVD subtitles are perfect) and am getting very fed up because god, those subtitles aren’t matching up with the dialogue. Every other sentence is missing a spoken word or two or being shortened… and it’s definitely not a technical error. I found this page when trying to find out a way to report these errors because goddamn, is it a pain in the ass to be reading subtitles that aren’t matching up exactly to the audio. I’d fix the subtitles myself if I could… Glad to know I’m not the only one who’s very irritated by whoever makes Netflix’s subtitles!

    • Not the Breakfast Club, too! (It’s on my queue I just haven’t watched it yet, lol.) The messed up subtitles is a pain in the ass but it’s just as much of a a pain the ass to try and find a way to report the bad subtitles. Especially since they don’t seem to do anything about it – the last time I checked the Footloose ones were still messed up.

  30. Subtitles for shows and movies in general are horrible, but it gets downright disgustingly lazy on top of being shitty when it comes to translations of foreign films. It’s so bad that even words that are written in plain, easy to see English are being mistranslated in the subtitles. It’s just deplorable. Google translate does a better job.

  31. I’ve been disappointed by the captioning on certain Netflix shows/movies for some time, but Sherlock S02E01 was so abysmal, I had to find out what was up. Maybe lodge a complaint, offer my amateur editing services or something. I had no idea the problem was so widespread and potentially unsolvable if Netflix doesn’t have the rights to fix shoddy captions.

    I am not deaf, but I often wonder how the deaf deal with such bad captioning. I prefer to have all my programs captioned. The names of songs I’m unfamiliar with, clarifying pronunciations and sound effects, not to mention covertly watching television without needing to crank up the sound loud enough to disturb others are all important uses of captioning to me. I’m fortunate that I use captioning to augment and enhance my viewing experience instead of relying on it to follow the story, but when the words on screen and the words I hear don’t match, it’s unnecessarily distracting.

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