• Alysa Salzberg

Oscar winner’s interpreter becomes an international superstar

“Parasite” director Bung Joon Ho made history when his film became the first non-English-language movie to ever win “Best Picture” at the Academy Awards. The film has broken many barriers and surprised people in a lot of ways. One of the most unexpected may be the director’s interpreter, Sharon Choi, becoming an internet darling.


A Korean-American filmmaker based in Seoul, Choi has been Bung Joon Ho’s translator since May, accompanying him on every awards ceremony red carpet and interview.

Many celebrities have interpreters they work with closely, as this Guardian article reveals. But something about Choi caught the public’s attention.


Part of it is the way she dresses, with her simple all-black ensemble never vying for visual attention from the director and her “cute Harry Potter specs”, as the Guardian article describes them. But most of what seems to have earned her praise (and rightly so) is her seamless interpreting.


Lainey, head of celebrity site Lainey Gossip, wrote an enthusiastic, obscenity-laced ode to Choi, remarking on how difficult it is to quickly translate thoughts and ideas into another language. For Choi, Lainey writes, “There’s never an ‘um’ or an ‘ah’ or a stumble. Her translations flow out of her immediately, gracefully, articulately.”


Watching interviews, it is true that there seems to be a shared mood between the director and his interpreter; Choi really does seem to be able to articulate not only his words, but his demeanor and delivery.


This has caused the Twitter crowd to go wild, as you can see from just a few enthusiastic tweets compiledby pop culture website Buzzfeed.


Usually when an interpreter gets noticed, it’s when they do something odd or make a mistake, like the notorious case of the fake sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial a few years ago. To have an interpreter getting time in the spotlight for doing her job so well, is exceptional. Congratulations, Sharon Choi, on capturing hearts around the world, and on conveying your client’s words and thoughts so perfectly.


Read on to learn more about Sharon Choi, who this article from O, The Oprah Magazine dubs “the real star of the Oscars”!




Choi with Bung Joon Ho (Image source)




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