Learning a language through Netflix is one of the easiest ways of learning a new language. In fact, you might not even notice you are doing it.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy finding content the language you are trying to learn. Luckily, there are ways to make the process of finding foreign language content a lot easier.
Here are several ways of finding and accessing content in other language on Netflix
Watch movies/series in a different languages
Watch English content in another language
Change the subtitles to another language
Add custom subtitles
Each of these have their own advantages and disadvantages, but bundling all of these tricks and you shouldn’t be running out of fresh content any time soon.
Let’s get into it.
Let’s face it, nothing beats a movie in it’s original language. I have met Germans who dared saying that sometimes the German voice-over was better than the original, and that you ‘really don’t see’ that the mouths move in a completely different way than they should, but they are lying, either to me or to themselves.
When learning a language try to find as much original content as you can find. At The Foreign Language Collective we try to compose lists to help you find stuff in whatever language you are learning. Some may be available on Netflix, others might not, but there is a quick way to search through your Netflix and find content that is fitting for you.
When going to the little search box in the corner, simply search for ‘*blank* language’.
For example, ‘German language’, or ‘Arabic language’.
This will give you an overview of all the content available in that language.
Not only that, Netflix let’s you specify what kind of content you want. You could look specifically for “German language documentary” or “Portuguese language action movie”.
Note: you really need to specify the language part. When simply looking up “German movies”, Netflix might also be looking at production which means they could also be offering some movies that are made by Germans but not necessarily in German.
Some languages might have more options than others, but this is the fastest way of finding out what original language content Netflix has to offer.
2. Audio in …
If you have already gone through all of the original language stuff, you might be tempted to simply change the audio in original English content. I am personally not a big fan of material with voice overs, but some people swear by it. The nice thing about this option is that it expands your possible pool of movies and series greatly.
Most original Netflix content offer audio and subtitles in different languages, but if you want to simplify the process even more you can simply search for “Audio in … ” and let Netflix do the rest.
This will load all of the titles that are available with a different audio than the original. Generally these are Netflix originals that are shared worldwide and therefore have different audio sets available, which they have all conveniently uploaded for us language learners (Thank you Netflix! We see you!)
Once you have selected a show you can change the audio to the language you want to learn. You can then always change the subtitles to English, to make sure you understand everything, or you can leave the audio in English and only change the subtitles to the language you are learning (which is also greatly beneficial to your language learning process).
3. Subtitles in
Similarly to the search shown above, you can also search for “Subtitles in … ” and be presented with the subtitles that are available in different languages.
Please note that even though the search may be the same, the results may differ a lot, mostly in the sense that there will be many more options when it comes to the availability of subtitles in foreign languages.
When selecting your new show you simply change the language of subtitles, and voila.
This is actually one of my favorite language learning strategies. As mentioned before, I am not a big fan of voice overs, so I always watch movies in their original language. A lot of the things I watch are in English, which is a language I already understand, so I change the subtitles to a language I am still learning
4. Custom Subtitles
And if all of the Netflix given options aren’t enough for you, or your language is a little bit more ‘niche’, you can always turn to the internet to save you. In fact, there is a metaphorical hero called SuperNetflix out there that’s got your back.
Super Netflix is a Chrome extension that allows you to add custom subtitles to your shows. The way it operates is pretty simple – you download the extension, you download the subtitles and you upload them onto your show.
Say, you want to watch ‘Sherlock’, but with subtitles in Czech. First – you install your Chrome extension.
Then you go to Subflix.com and you search for your desired show or movie and the language in which you would like your subtitles. For movies, this is enough, for tv-shows you also have to specify which episode you are looking for. In this case – Sherlock S01E01 Czech (S= Season, E=Episode. Don’t forget the 0 in cases of numbers smaller than 10).
Once you hit enter Subflix will show you all the available subtitles and their ratings. You can see where it was made and how many times it has been downloaded.
Once you hit download, you will receive a DFXP file, which is the type of file supported by Super Netflix. When your download is finished you can open your Netflix tab and open the episode. Now, when you move your cursor you should see a little menu appear on your screen.
To add your custom subtitles, you will have to click on the CC button. A screen will open where you can select a file. You can select your recently downloaded DFXP file.
After that wait a couple of seconds, and after click on the subtitles menu. There you should see your newly added subtitle appear.
You will now see your uploaded subtitles appear among the already existing subtitles for this movie/show.
And that’s it! When there are mistakes in the synchronization of the subtitles you can alter it slightly in speed in the Super Netflix menu.