How Netflix translators are shaping future generations

How Netflix translators are shaping future generations


It’s thanks to translators that you can enjoy your favourite movie or series, in your own tongue or while hearing the original voices.

State-of-the-art subtitles are short and effective, and are a helpful tool to understanding cultural references.

Subtitlers must in fact help the subtitle-reading public by clarifying, where necessary, cultural terms or references.

Adapting culture, a.k.a. localisation, is one of the steps of translation. This target-oriented approach is always in the back of the mind of a translator. Subtitles need to be fresh, sparkling and young: keep in mind 18-24-year olds are Netflix’s main subscribers. 

With its original and ever new contents, Netflix has an essential role on the cultural references and thinking of a whole generation. A huge privilege, but just as much a huge responsibility.

It has become THE platform where cultural awareness, diversity and cultural intelligence are being raised and nurtured. A place where (moderate?) critical thinking, internalized homophobia, sexuality spectrum and discrimination based on race and disability are being addressed and discussed.

Netflix is helping to overthrow societal tropes, and to educate on intercultural sensitivity and understanding of so-called misfits. They are showing us that different is the new cool. How cool is that?

I am talking about ? Sex Education, an educational series, where a lot of sex-related conditions, also taboos, and “tutorials” are embedded into a fun series, showing watchers it is ok to be different than the “accepted norm”.

What about ? Stranger Things, where nerdiness is depicted as useful and life-saving?

I am not a binge-watcher myself, so I am surely omitting loads of examples, but you got the idea.

With these key series, and with the transnational public they get, it is especially important that every linguistic version is adapted for its audience, meaning the understanding of contents needs to be eased by translations.

Don’t forget Altered Carbon, which shows us a future where different cultures are so embedded in national culture that everyone speaks (or at least curses?) in several languages.

With transnational cinema, there is hope for the mentality of future generations to stop hating and discriminating, provided they achieve intercultural understanding.


Next time you are on your daybreak netflix, we hope you’ll think about the work behind subtitles!

P.S.: In this article, we only talked about subbing, not dubbing. Thiat was on purpose, since it’s another kind of translation, that requires a whole different method!

➡️ Share if you are a translator and if you agree!