Dear Netflix,

I love your service. I love Netflix. I really do. I’ve been paying for the service now for three or four years and I use it pretty regularly.  And while some people have a lot of complaints about the service, 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 service 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, when 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. 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 tortoise shell 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’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!

137 thoughts on “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?

    1. 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. Love Netflix for multiple reasons, content, technical and moral… so i won’t give it up easily. However, i use subtitles 100% of the time and they can improve vastly

      1) Accuracy has been discussed here. Plenty to do for those customers who depend on subs (e.g., hard of hearing), are trying to learn languages, or just avoiding the sometimes/often nerve-wrecking loud soundtrack mixed with a 15dB lower dialog track (e.g., faint of heart old **** such as i).
      2) Intermitent display on multiple devices and IE11 under Win8.1: On the same PC, Chrome and FF would show all the subs (but consume 60% CPU, likely Silverlight not accelerated in h/w), but the IE11 would show only 40-50% of the same subs (yet the video is smoother, fluid motion, with just 10% CPU). Great choice between choppy video playback with 100% subs shown in Chrome/FF, or good playback on IE with only 1/2 of the subtitles…!
      3) Please allow us to place the subs all the way to the bottom, in the usually wasted black bars (also better contrast) ! Or just provide kindly a default option of bottom subs on just 2 lines, w/o intruding in the active video whenever possible.

      While (1,3) could be argued as nuissances and nitpicking, (2) is actually a show-stopper, seriously degrading the quality of experience. In a few days Netflix will activate a large chunk of the EU market, where subs may be a more important issue.

  2. 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?

    1. 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. Love Netflix for multiple reasons, content, technical and moral… so i won’t give it up easily. However, i use subtitles 100% of the time and they can improve vastly

      1) Accuracy has been discussed here. Plenty to do for those customers who depend on subs (e.g., hard of hearing), are trying to learn languages, or just avoiding the sometimes/often nerve-wrecking loud soundtrack mixed with a 15dB lower dialog track (e.g., faint of heart old **** such as i).
      2) Intermitent display on multiple devices and IE11 under Win8.1: On the same PC, Chrome and FF would show all the subs (but consume 60% CPU, likely Silverlight not accelerated in h/w), but the IE11 would show only 40-50% of the same subs (yet the video is smoother, fluid motion, with just 10% CPU). Great choice between choppy video playback with 100% subs shown in Chrome/FF, or good playback on IE with only 1/2 of the subtitles…!
      3) Please allow us to place the subs all the way to the bottom, in the usually wasted black bars (also better contrast) ! Or just provide kindly a default option of bottom subs on just 2 lines, w/o intruding in the active video whenever possible.

      While (1,3) could be argued as nuissances and nitpicking, (2) is actually a show-stopper, seriously degrading the quality of experience. In a few days Netflix will activate a large chunk of the EU market, where subs may be a more important issue.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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’???

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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… 😀
        Thank you for replying and for working on sorting it, you’re the first ‘industry’ person who has responded.

  6. 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.

    1. 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’???

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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… 😀
        Thank you for replying and for working on sorting it, you’re the first ‘industry’ person who has responded.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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).

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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).

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

  18. 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?

  19. 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.)

  20. 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.)

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

    1. 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

      >

  24. 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.

    1. 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

      >

  25. 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!

  26. 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!

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. [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.

  32. [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.

  33. 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.

    1. I’m having a similar problem. I’m from Argentina. I was watching a Woody Allen movie and I noticed that the subtitles were absolutely horrible. Not only did they have spelling mistakes, but also grammatical ones. For example, instead of writing “palabra” (means “word” in spanish) they wrote “palavra”, which is basically an abomination (like writing “your” in cases where it should be “you’re”). As a customer I feel robbed. I sent a twit to the latin american netflix account but no one answered me. Maybe it’s a problem with my apple tv, which I doubt.

    2. I stopped reading after a while but you do realize the choice for the different subtitle styles is very logical right? Closed captioning has a different purpose than a foreign language subtitles. People hard of hearing use closed captioning as supplemental to their experience. However, verbatim subtitles are ridiculously long and hard to keep up with. For a people of normal hearing ability who don’t understand English it would be hell to keep up with the subtitles you’re asking for.

      1. Exactly, people complaining about subtitles haven’t ever subtitled a video before. You always have to compress, especially in translation. In translation you don’t translate word for word, you translate the MEANING.

  34. 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.

  35. 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??

  36. 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??

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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!

    1. 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.

  52. 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!

    1. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. I have noticed on ‘ The Unit’, sections of people talking in a foreign language (I.e. Not English), there are no subtitles. The rest of the subtitles appear correctly.

  58. I have noticed on ‘ The Unit’, sections of people talking in a foreign language (I.e. Not English), there are no subtitles. The rest of the subtitles appear correctly.

  59. I find they really have problems with lyric subtitles. I’m not deaf myself but I find it easier to have subtitles on for some reason. And several times I’ve notice they use completely different songs lyrics instead of the right song, or they use the correct song but the wrong place in the song.

  60. I just started watching Arrow and the subtitles are incredibly confusing. They aren’t missing anything or changing the wording. They actually have entire sentences added in that appear to be part of the show but there is no dialogue to go with it. I thought maybe something wacky was going on so I restarted my Xbox and tried again. No change. I don’t know if the problem is the subtitles or the video itself.

    1. I actually noticed that too. I think that came up a few times. I remember one scene in particular where I think Ollie was in an alleyway climbing up a wall (not really a rare scene but whatever), but they completely added lines in and I was so confused.

      1. are you certain that it wasn’t during a point of the show where Oliver was doing a mental monologue?

  61. yeah was just watching something and noticed the subs were completely wrong! People saying just random words that made no sense. If youre going to bother to sub you need to get it right.

    1. Yeah it’s May, 2017 and it doesn’t seem to be getting that much better… I’ve been recapping House of Cards and Bloodline to watch the new seasons (grrr still bugs that Netflix Originals wait so d— (;-)! long to get out another season of the more popular series!!! Come on, NF, you got bingers and addicts that are fully dependent on your content 😉 😉 😉

  62. Apparently, whomever does their subtitles can’t deal with British colloquialisms, either. Catching up on Doc Martin, anything not understood came up as the word “inaudible” on-screen. Such as the phrase “on the trot.” Not to mention being out of sync.

    1. Exactly. I just finished The Forsyte Saga and the subtitles were a mess. Lots of “inaudible’s”, and some where it was simply just incorrect as though the transcriber misheard or didn’t understand a word. They really need a “report subtitle error” option.

    2. I was JUST noticing this in Lie To Me, that’s actually the reason I searched this topic (although I’ve been seeing it more and more recently, including Footloose)! If it was every once in a while, I’d be more forgiving…but I can’t even count the number of times per episode or movie that there is some sort of mess-up. The British-isms seem to especially trip them up, but sometimes it just appears to be the accent in general. Maybe get somebody like me, who grew up in England AND the US, so they don’t have that problem?

      1. The subtitles on Lie To Me drove me insane! I spent most of the show screaming at the screen. It wasn’t even that they misheard it and wrote something incorrectly, they completely changed what he said most of the time.

  63. In season 1 episode 4 of 30 Rock, there is a scene with the song “who’s that lady” and the subtitles are to a totally different song: “she’s a lady.” So awful.

  64. I’m having a similar problem, but not related with the meaning of the sentences. I’m from Argentina. I was watching a Woody Allen movie and I noticed that the spanish subtitles were absolutely horrible. Not only did they have spelling mistakes, but also grammatical ones. For example, instead of writing “palabra” (means “word” in spanish) they wrote “palavra”, which is basically an abomination (like writing “your” in cases where it should be “you’re”). As a customer I feel robbed. I sent a twit to the latin american netflix account but no one answered me. Maybe it’s a problem with my apple tv, which I doubt

  65. My patience is wearing thin with Netflix. I am a 29 year old women, I do not the word ‘fuck’ censored. At first the subtitles where coming up ‘inaudible’ and I thought, ok maybe I just have better hearing than the person *making* the subtitles, but then it was every single curse word.

    It’s just the total lack of respect that gets me. That we need protecting from the big bad words by the mighty Netflix, without ever voicing any need for it. We’ve had censorship forced upon us by a bloody video streaming site!

  66. Watching Warehouse 13, and they often have words that sort of sound like what they said but are totally wrong and don’t make sense. Example: Myka says “A Griffin” and the subtitle says “Aggressive” … also the grammar is often wrong. Example: “to” when it should be “too” or vice versa. PLEASE FIX.

  67. oh and sometimes it says “unintelligible” similar to how xarophti says it says “inaudible”

  68. Watched Arrow and subtitles read “Caucasian” while the person actually said “African-American”

  69. Part of the problem is many people get subtitles confused with closed captioning. Subtitles are not regulated by the government nor by the Fcc, and they do not have to be Word for Word, they can be condensed

    The reason for this is subtitles are mainly for people to watch the show because they don’t understand the spoken language… And sometimes it is for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. I happened to be hard of hearing as I am deaf in one ear. And I have a 30% hearing loss in my left ear. I used to get very frustrated until I understood the difference. Subtitles have no regulations or whatsoever and they can mismatch the dialogue as much as they want. The goal of subtitles is to get the basic just of the conversation across to the viewer

    Actual closed captioning costs about five times as much is having subtitles for show as they must be transcript absolutely Word for Word, and they also must describe sounds and other things going on in the TV show or movie. Close captioning is also regulated legally – as in by laws. This is so that the deaf and hard of hearing community can watch a TV show or movie and get every single word that is spoken shown across the screen as well as sound effects descriptions and certain descriptions for music is being played. Music is the most unregulated part of close captioning. All that is required, legally, is that they put musical notes on the screen when music or song is being played. However some close captioning companies will actually put a musical notes and the lyrics of the song in the background on the show – while others will simply list the artist and the song that is playing

    Anyway, my point is don’t get so upset with Netflix because if you were watching a show and it says subtitles – and subtitles are all that that show offers – not close captioning – only subtitles, then you will not yet what is spoken word for word. This is not a Netflix issue. This is Anytime subtitles are being used. For example, I love Japanese horror movies – actual ones made in Japan and they speak Japanese. I turn on English subtitles – I also happen to speak Japanese, and I’m moderately fluent in it… And I can tell you that 99% of the time the subtitles are way off from what’s being said. They don’t alter the plot or alter what happens it’s just that they said in a more compressed way – mostly because subtitling is much cheaper to have done on your movie versus an actual close captioning company which is regulated by laws

    So in closing, you shouldn’t be upset with Netflix, but you should be upset with the company that did the subtitles, or upset with the producers of the movie or film who hired the sub title company company.

    Some tv/movies offers close captions and it also offers subtitles, pick close captioning if you were death of hard of hearing if you want to see every word that is spoken on the screen

    Unfortunately, no computer game that I know of offers close captioning… They just do subtitles… And I can say as an avid computer game or that often in gaming, words and other things are periodically compressed

    However, there is also another reason why a company goes with subtitles versus close captioning. Since close captioning is legally regulated because of the deaf and hard of hearing community and the fact that every spoken word and every sound heard on the screen must be described… This can cause a problem because there could be too much going on and multiple people speaking at once, as people speaking very fast, etc. and with close captioning they have to get all of that on the screen… But was subtitles they can condense it down in the subtitles won’t lag behind what’s being said on screen…with close captioning, sometimes the captioning falls up to five seconds behind what is being said on screen because there’s too much going on for the captioning to keep up with it because they are required to put every word on screen as well as describe sounds

    I hope this helps. And also remember Netflix did not add subtitles to the streaming shows… The subtitling has usually always been there. It’s just that in the past Netflix did not stream the subtitles and did not give an option to do so… And once they did, people like you got upset because you weren’t getting what was said Word for Word… However you weren’t supposed to be getting what was said Word for Word because you were getting subtitles and not close captions

      1. Check out Supernatural and click the subtitles option.

        Notice how it says English[CC].

        That stands for closed captioning.

        Now, Click on like, ANY anime.

        See how it just says just, English?

        NOW re-read the entire post.

        Try a little more. Kaaaaaaay

  70. Netflix subtitles are pretty awful. Either they’re deliberately inaccurate (as above), or they’re just sloppy. When Amber Mendez (played by Maria Conchita Alonso) thinks Schwarzenegger’s character is chasing her in The Running Man, she doesn’t yell “are you the man?” That’s idiotic. She yells “ayuda me.” Oh, and the phone in Housebound doesn’t say “hello motor,” it says “hello moto.” One of them is what a phone made by Motorola would say, the other is what a culturally illiterate, minimum-wage subtitle transcriber would say if no one paid him to proofread.

  71. Right now I’m watching Bones Season 7 Episode 11 and there’s even a typo on a date that one of the characters says. 1893 is not the same as 1983. They need to proof-read these before releasing them.

  72. I’ve been watching Supernatural, and while general dialogue is pretty accurate, background audio (such as TV’s and radio’s) are generally just completely different.

    Also, the subtitles sometimes add extra words that I can’t here, at all. (However, I think this may be Netflix cutting audio…).

    Liam

  73. I do find it a bit ironic that the author is essentially complaining about subtitles that aren’t 100% accurate 100% of the time, but then has typos in the article:

    “And while your servie offers subtitles on an increasing amount of content ”

    (service)

    1. What do his writing mistakes have to do with subtitles? Are you saying that a professional subtitler is expected to produce the same quality of writing as a random person on nerdophiles?

      It would seem that finding typos brings you such indomitable excitement, you needed to work some weak relationship into a comment. Congratulations, you can read at at least an eighth grade level! Technically, 7.9.

      Also, it’s not ironic that his post has mistakes. It’s hypocritical at best.

  74. Could Netlix also avoid adding films where the subtitles are coded in as then they can’t be turned of.

  75. For me it’s not just that Netflix has subtitles, it’s that sometimes they don’t pay close enough attention, changing some words completely in the subtitles so that the dialogue doesn’t make sense, or so that viewers are confused about the plot. They have done this by changing character names in the dialogue of the series Pretty Little Liars, making it confusing to who different characters are talking about/to.

  76. When Netflix starts paying decent rates for subtitles, then professional subtitlers will be willing to work with them and provide good subtitles. In the meantime, only amateurs will do the “work” and there’s nothing much we can expect from that.

  77. First off, completely agree about the subtitles. No hearing problems here except when my boyfriend is too loud playing his game online. I get a laugh every time they’re wrong.

    Second, am I the only one who thinks the volume of the dialogue could match the volume of the music and background noise and no one would be the worse for wear?

    I love Netflix, but it really does get to be a slight pain in the ass when I have to adjust the volume loud as hell when two characters are talking, and then rush to turn it back down for the following explosion/loud, scary, noise so my neightbors don’t kill me.

  78. It sucks if you are hearing impaired as well as if you are learning a foreign language. I try to use it for educational purposes but most of the foreign films are only available with the subtitles in the local language (say English or Spanish depending on where we are at the moment) rather than in the original language which totally defies the purpose.

  79. what’s it called when one posts on a thread that’s been dormant like this one — zombifying it or something? But netflix subtitle problems have been alive the whole time. I wish for an app enabling crowdsourced fixes. The app, usable with any device, knows where you are in whatever stream, timestamps it, you enter the correction and boom, you continue watching. Surely the aggregated data would point up places that many agree need fixing. Ugh.

  80. Found this page when trying to locate best venue for such a complaint: the official feedback seems more oriented toward technical issues than interpretive problems.

    Watched “Jaco” doc last night and the horrible captioning does a massive disservice to hearing-impaired audience trying to appreciate the culture of music: terms like ‘tempo’ are used in a grossly erroneous way as a catch-all for volume or pitch, and common slang – such as “having a Jones” to denote drug addiction – come out as “having some Joans.”

    Almost want to say do it right or don’t do it at all, but that’s probably unnecessarily drastic.

    It’s worth noting that the captions are key for users other than the hearing impaired – such as urban apartment dwellers who need to keep the volume down…

  81. I would appreciate them just TELLING us which ones are english or not, that would be nice.. I hate subtitles if I can avoid them.
    They used to at least say in the extra info whether it was english or not, now they don’t even do that.
    Also they used to show what subtitles were avaiable, now you have to start the movie before you can even see that info.
    BULLSHIT!!!

  82. Yep I am watching “The Posession” on Netflix right now and whenever a man starts speaking German it says “[speaks Hebrew]”… like I speak German, I don’t speak Hebrew, how come I know exactly what he’s saying if he “speaks Hebrew”…

  83. Pretty ridiculous how this is still a problem, they even get it wrong with the English [CC], step it up Netflix.

  84. I just watched ‘Lion’ streaming on Netflix last night and there were NO subtitles. I kept waiting for them to come on but they never activated.

    Now I see online that it was suppose to have subtitles. So, there’s more problems with subtitles than wrong words. I watched 1/2 of a movie and had no idea what they were saying AND I thought that was the way it was filmed. lol

  85. I’m really enjoying the wonderful Spanish series “Velvet” but am so surprised at the number of grammatical errors in the English subtitles and wonder if the film company has been made aware of them.

  86. Have you ever tried watching an anime on Netflix? Just awful. I’m reading one thing but hearing another thing. Gives me such a headache.

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