|A screen capture from tvN "Youn's Kitchen" / Courtesy of tvN|
Star producer Na Young-seok's hit reality show tvN's "Youn's Kitchen" belatedly came under fire for what tvN has claimed were translation errors.
In the eighth episode of the show that aired in 2018, in which Korean actors and actresses sell Korean food in Spain to observe the reactions from local customers, a man from Austria said, "Und zwei schwule Koreaner heir," which is roughly translated as "Two gay Koreans are here," watching the two Korean actors who served the food.
However, the subtitles read: "Two handsome men are here."
An internet user who claimed to be a student studying in Germany said there were other subtitle errors which mistranslated locals' negative reactions to the pancake they were served into a positive meaning.
Some internet users alleged that tvN fabricated the locals' negative reactions to food served to serve the cable network's interest as the show was introduced to feature locals enjoying Korean cuisine. Season 2 of the TV show was very popular with the highest viewership reaching 19 percent.
CJENM, which owns tvN, confirmed the translation errors, but claimed that the cable network didn't fabricate what the locals said.
"It was a simple mistake. When we found out the errors about three years ago, we deleted it on the VOD service. In terms of translation, we outsourced the services and used them for the TV show," an official from CJENM said. "If the line was in English, we were able to double check. Regarding the word 'schwule,' we were told it doesn't mean 'gay' but a term describing feminine men. It is not about censorship."
The subtitle incident has belatedly surfaced as an issue on the internet as some found video clips of the show that still had the wrong translations. The wrong translations spurred speculation ― some allege that tvN intentionally used misleading translations for its show, while others speculated the cable network might want to avoid the touchy issue here ― homosexuality ― with the mistranslations.
Censorship allegations arose after SBS set an unfortunate precedent with the British rock band Queen's biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody." The film was aired on SBS during the New Year holidays in February with the removal of scenes featuring two men in a romantic relationship.
Some viewers, including the LGBTQ groups, criticized SBS for deleting two "important scenes" in the story because of censorship, claiming that the action was not inclusive and did not treat everyone equally.
Facing complaints from fans, SBS explained that it removed the scenes because the content was too sensual for children watching the film.