Netflix dubbing and subtitles

Don't know how I missed this before, but the Netflix original productions have dubbing and subtitles. Pick a program, say, House of Cards, and you'll see that you can watch the program in English or Spanish, and choose from 10 languages for subtitles, including Norwegian!

The new series, Grace and Frankie is dubbed into five languages, English, Spanish, French, German and Portugese and has the 10 subtitles.

You can pick your choice of language and subtitle by starting the program then hovering your cursor over the audio/text choices box (between the "HD" icon and "full screen" icon). It looks like the newer the Netflix program, the more languages are available.

I watched an episode of Grace and Frankie in English with French subtitles first, then re-watched it with French dubbing and French subtitles.

So fun!

May 28, 2015


I tried this with French in a few different programs, but I quit because the French audio and the French subtitles didn't match. :/ If it works it can be pretty useful, though.

May 28, 2015

This has nothing to do with Netflix and is common to every language, including English (but you probably never noticed). The reason is that you have to consider both space and speed. It's a lot faster to say some sentences than to read them written verbatim in subtitles. And by the time you'd have read them, the characters on screen would have said 3 more lines! Not mentioning if it was all written, it might even have to be smaller to fit the screen without being over most of the image. People writing subtitles have to consider this and often shorten them up, keeping the meaning as much as possible. Dubbing has similar constraints plus appearing to fit the labial movements of the actors despite saying something completely different.

My suggestion is to keep to content originally produced in your target language.

Edit: Another suggestion is to look for subtitles for the hearing-impaired, as they usually fit way better the words being said than regular subtitles for people not speaking the language. But these are much rarer, and usually only come in the show/movie's original language.

May 28, 2015

Here's a catalogue of movies/series on Netflix with good subtitles, sorted by language:

Also, here's a free extension that adds bilingual subs, pop-up dictionary, and improved playback control:

December 19, 2018

I found this frustrating as well. When I listen to the dialog and I don't understand or can't pick out a word I would like to be able to see it in the subtitles but often the subtitles are just a paraphrasing so they don't use the same words at all.

I still think it can be useful for training your ear though. I prefer to listen to French audio with English subtitles so I get the gist of the French even if I don't catch exactly what words are being used.

I think that video that is originally in French is probably better as well since it helps if the lips are synched up and I think sometimes the dubbed dialog is a bit stilted since they are directly translating things.

The Returned, Spirals and Braquo are three things on Netflix that are French language, dubbed in to English for the anglophone markets. You can turn the French audio back on, but I don't think they have French subtitles. Asterix and Tintin are also there, which use simpler, but still quite fast, language, although obviously these are animation so matching the lips to the language doesn't really apply.

May 28, 2015

I LOVED The Returned / Les Revenants ! I watched it in French w English subtitles on Netflix. I'll check out Spirals and Braquo, haven't heard of them until now :) It's the Netflix original productions that have all the dubbing and subtitle choices.

May 29, 2015

Oops. You already knew but I should have said that "The Returned" is an American remake so while it might have French dubbing and subtitles the original language is English. The original version "Les Revenants" is also on Netflix so you can watch that directly.

Spirals is the English title of Engranges, but it's not a remake, they just renamed for the English language audience. It's interesting that they didn't rename Braquo (which is French slang for a robbery, a "blag" in the English gangster terminology).

To be honest I find both of them very difficulty to follow. They speak quickly and I haven't found the skill relating to "gunshot wounds received during a kidnapping and a trip to the vet to get sewn up before the police catch up" on the tree so my vocabulary is not up to it. =)

Understanding shows like this is basically my goal. If I can comprehend a scene in a loud night club between two cops discussing a bribe they got then I will consider myself fluent in French!

May 29, 2015

I've changed to just listening to the French audio.

May 28, 2015

I like to hear the French dubbing while reading the French subtitles so I can compare and contrast the two. My German is weaker than my French, but I still think I would enjoy this kind of translation comparison with German, as well.

May 30, 2015

How fun! I was just wondering if I could get French programs thru Netflix. I just watched all of Grace and Frankie (great show!) now I'll try watching it again in French. Thanks!

May 28, 2015

I'm not subscribed to Netflix, but I heard there are some. Additionally, using some VPN, you can connect to Netflix from Canada or France to get original French content. Same goes with DVDs and BluRays from Canada, which will most likely have a French soundtrack, and they have the advantage of being region compatible with US disc-players (I'm assuming you are in the USA).

May 28, 2015

Agreed that the dubbing is weird, but American's don't get dubbed films, so we're not used to it at all. I think it is ordinary for American films to be dubbed for overseas audiences. Though odd for our experience, I do there is some value in listening to the dubbed translation to hear a lot of language in a context that we know if we've seen the episode in Engish.

As for the subtitles, the are available in Brazilian Portugese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish. I find this completely remarkable! I think I will be turning on the French sub-titles for a lot of what I watch.

May 29, 2015

For people talking about the subtitles not matching, here is a tip. Find a show in the language you are studing. In that case, often times there is a subtitle with the tag [CC]. When that is the case, the subtitle will match the speech very well. Not perfectly, but way better than if it is a subtitle of a dubbed show.

October 19, 2018
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