Spanish-speaking viewers point out glaring issue with Netflix’s ‘Chupa’

Spanish-speaking viewers have pointed out an unfortunate translation issue with Netflix’s new family adventure film, Chupa.

The film, which is set to be released by the streaming service on 7 April, is about a mysterious chupacabra – inspired by a mythical creature in South American folklore that sucked the blood of goats. It was written and directed by Jonás Cuarón, son of Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón.

Chupa follows Alex, a young boy from Kansas City who visits Mexico to meet his family. While visiting his grandfather’s ranch, he befriends a baby chupacabra, which he calls Chupa.

Spanish-speaking social media users have pointed out that “chupa” literally means “suck” or “to suck”.

The trailer actually addresses the word’s meaning, with one character pointing out that Alex’s nickname for the chupacabra means “sucker”, suggesting it could be interpreted as “bad”. Alex’s dad says he likes the nickname.

However, others on social media have pointed out that “chupa” can also be used to describe a sexual act.

US author Vanessa Angélica Villarreal tweeted: “Imagine the sheer amount of people this title went through at @netflix all the way to ‘release promo movie poster’ for no one to tell them that you can’t shorten the word ‘chupacabra’ with ‘chupa’ because it literally means ‘to suck off’ … like kids should not google this word.”

Another added: “Making a chupacabra movie and calling it just ‘Chupa’ apparently not knowing that if you take away the "cabra" context it’s just a sexual word it’s the most gringo thing I’ve seen today.”

“I really need to know if anyone at all raised their hand like ‘uhhhh,’ said one Twitter user, while another added: “This can’t be real.”

“That awkward moment when you straight up name your kids’ movie ‘SUCK’ because your marketing dept has no Spanish Speakers,” wrote another.

Cuarón said at a Tudum event, that the goal for the film was to create “incredibly cute creature based on a terrifying legend”.

He added: “The mythical creature was described as a hairless dog with wings and sharp teeth. Chupa is furry and incredibly cute.”