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'Parasite' director Bong's interpreter Choi receives prestigious diplomacy award


Choi Sung-jae, known for her eloquent interpretation for director Bong Joon-ho of the Oscar-winning film "Parasite," received an annual diplomacy award in Seoul on Wednesday for her role in enhancing South Korea's national image, foreign ministry officials said.

Choi, better known as Sharon Choi, won this year's YoungSan Diplomat Award that the nonprofit Seoul Forum for International Affairs gives to a public official and a civilian each year for their contribution to improving Korea's image and diplomatic interests.

Before Bong's black comedy "Parasite" won four Oscar awards, including the best picture, in February, Choi played a pivotal role in translating the director's messages for the world audience and media, which were replete with pithy punchlines.

Among Bong's sound bites that Choi translated to resonate with many moviegoers was "Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films."

Known as a young filmmaker without professional interpretation training, Choi had accompanied Bong in media interviews and award ceremonies to translate his oft-nuanced remarks about a class struggle in a capitalist society, a key theme of "Parasite," and what the movie's success meant for Korea's film industry.

Kang Hyung-sik, head of the foreign ministry's international safety management bureau, also received the annual award.

In the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kang played a key role in helping South Korean citizens return home safely from virus-hit countries.

He has also been at the forefront of the government's efforts to support overseas citizens when they ran into accidents, such as the sinking of a tourism boat in Hungary last year. (Yonhap)