Learning languages through dual subtitles

Dual subtitles:

So there is Viki learn mode and there is…
It’s a free extension on Google Chrome to use it when you watch on NFX that will show you 2 sets of NFX subs.

Other functions that I think are helpful for learners are:

  • a mode that will stop at each sentence.

  • a mode you can just watch normally and if you move the mouse over the subtitles, it will stop the video with a blue window appearing above the word you just hover the mouse over, no need to click on each word.

  • an integrated dictionary with sound and pinyin.

  • the flow of subtitles in a window on the right side. Skip subs, replay.

  • Saving vocabulary (option): we need to pay. But the most useful and important function is for free.

It looks like that:


You can pick to have 2 sets of subtitles appearing “on” the video as usual or to have subtitles playing at the bottom so you don’t have a problem with reading both.

If the IP address is in Europe, NFX might not suggest you an Asian language in the list of subtitles, but if you pick an Asian IP, you will have the possibility to pick an Asian language if you want to learn from English-Asian.

There could be a difference between what you listen, what is translated and between languages translations (it’s not word to word or the exact translation) for some shows.

Other pro is: you don’t need to look for an extern source of subs, subs are from the same source (NFX) and it works for any show (American, Asian, European… Cartoons).

The sister extension also exists for YouTube (same concept, same dev).


They also have an active forum where you can participate or give your feedback and express your suggestions:


Other pros I didn’t know:

  • You can export your list of vocabulary or the list of your favorite sentences in Anki or CSV format (option fee).
    The CSV format pro: it’s not only showing you the sentence you saved, but also the context (the sentence before and after).
  • You can highlight words you don’t know in the color you want and then each time the program will run over them, they will be automatically highlighted in the subs (option fee).
  • there’s a free trial period for these vocabulary options.
  • pick speed (if it’s too fast for you, you can slow down the video or on the contrary, speed it up)
  • show or hide the pronunciation
  • pick the dictionary you want by adding the url
  • all the words you will meet in subs are ordered in a tab according to their level of difficulty:


  • you can print your list of vocabulary (2 languages) or the ep subs in 2 sets to learn or copy paste them in a document to study them:



To add the pinyin, install an add-on that will add it if you type “=pinyin(…)”:


It works for Korean too:



Frankly if I do this, most of the fun of watching a drama is lost.
I tried to do this with a book once. “Moby Dick”. I was a teenager so my English wasn’t what it is now, but even for someone who understood perfectly everything else, there were a lot of nautical terms which I don’t even know in my own language. Anyway, I put slips of semi-transparent paper between the pages, I wrote down the unknown ones with a pencil and I diligently searched for them in a dictionary.

Do you want to know the rest? Can you guess? I never went beyond the first chapter. Reading for me was a joy, and it had become a chore.

I also never picked up that book again. Very recently I found it online and I read the very last chapter, and I was so sorry for the whale that it made me sick.


:joy::joy::joy: it depends on the level!

My opinion:
You can watch it first and then watch it a second time with dual subs.
Imagine you have done Topik number… and here you are watching it!
I think listening to a lot of the same sentences can make you recognize some of them.
To understand everything is really hard, but for example if you can’t understand 1 word or 2 in the sentence, that could help.

So by step, it would be possible or by words that might spark your interest.

To begin with, there are cartoons with easy words of everyday life and the children are asking their parents what this word means.

It’s really hard for me, because they speak fast and a lot of words I don’t know, so I take cartoons.

For other series, I put the dual subs, but I just pick a word or a sentence when it interests me because it would be taking too much time at my level.

I bought a book not too hard, just to read it and learn some words I’m supposed to learn. I wouldn’t begin with difficult books. I would begin with storybooks following Topik level or hsk level.
For the moment, I highlight the word I need to learn on the book and grammar in a color and expressions in a color and I add the word to a list of words in a app.
In this app, I can review the words I met on the book later.

For the moment, I forget about everything, but I suppose it’s normal with my memory. I will read the stories again with highlighted words so it will print better on my brain.

I don’t know if it will work, I’m trying!!

1 Like

You’re reminding me of highschool, back when we were forced to read books in Dutch, English, German and French. I used to love reading, but I wasn’t a very fast reader, so apart from the different languages, even just the time pressure stressed me out. And there was no time left to read the books I wanted to read. In the end I wasn’t even sure about my own taste in books anymore.
It took a long time before I recovered my love for reading …


I very rarely watch something twice. Out of, I don’t know, 200 k-dramas, maybe I’ve watched 2 twice and small parts of another 1-2.

Yes, you’re right, if you watch hundreds of dramas you will surely learn a lot of vocabulary and frequent phrases and expressions, which can help you when you finally go and get formal lessons: less words to memorize, and you can immediately grasp in which situations they are used.
BUT: if you don’t know at least the basic grammar and syntax rules (the ones you learn in say, the first 8 months of lessons, one academic year), learning random words does not advance you much in understanding the sentence (just a bit in very simple ones) and surely it doesn’t advance you at all in speaking, in forming sentences.
By watching dramas we know five different ways of saying “I love you” but if we went to Korea we wouldn’t know how to ask for directions in the street.

Just like when I was young and studied classical singing for years. I knew an awful lot of words of German Lieder which I had learned by heart and noted down the meaning on the score. Then I also had 1 year of German lessons which enabled me to form simple sentences. At some point, I went to a voice seminar with Joseph Metternich for a few days, and there were many German students there. I tried my best to communicate and succeeded in having even serious conversations about family relationships, our professional future and what we want from life. Sometimes aided by pantomime, sometimes searching for a word and they guessing until found, I was able to get friendly and communicate well. But they were deliriously amused by my romantic language and expressions - because most of the German I knew came from Goethe’s and Ruckert’s poems, as used by Schubert and other musicians in their Lieder, operettas and operas. I still remember us all in a bus, they laughing their asses off when I said “Feuersglut lodert heiss in meinem Blut” (from Lehar’s operetta “Paganini”), which translates into English as “Embers burn hot in my blood”. Ah, the happy times…

Even after only two months of Korean lessons, I had a lot of “aha!” moments watching dramas, and some pieces of the puzzle started falling into place.
So in my opinion lessons (formal or informal, whatever is available for each person) are the way to go, and watching dramas on the side surely helps. I don’t find dual subtitles useful to me at all and never use them.


Ah yes, I was replying in your case since you’ve done Korean.

I don’t know if I can make it for Wednesday, doing overtime because of the deadline at the end of the week :dizzy_face:
I’ll tell you by mail! I still haven’t done the homework. I don’t know when I will find time.

I do that often. The Viki system is good because it works as a dictionary, but every type of two-language system works for me.

I use it when I re-watch favourite movies or dramas or when I want to watch something fun enough but not very challenging plot-wise.

This system works best with dramas because of the repetition factor. You hear the word multiple times in context and (hopefully) by episode 3 you start to recognize it immediately and move on to other vocabulary.

It is a practical method but you have to keep in mind that it has nothing to do with enjoying a drama or a movie. It is a study method. It requires a lot of time and dedication.

1 Like

I have not tried yet with a full series, but as soon as it would be possible for me, I’d do it!

The Viki learn mode: I have to click on a lot of words, but also because I need to learn more words. For me, it needs shortcuts dedicated to Learn Mode so using it would be more practical for a bigger range of learners. I will use more LLN because of that.

Watching videos and listening to sentences have also helped me with the pronunciation and memorizing sentences they often say in dramas.
That helps for people with a visual or echoic memory. If I watch specifically to learn, I need to repeat the video or stop it to save or look at the definition.
Teachers also use dual subtitles or videos for their students, depending on the class level.

It’s another study material which changes from books.

1 Like

Hi, I’m pretty embarrassed to revive an old thread, but does anyone know if there is a way of getting Chinese and English subtitles on kdramas on Viki? Afaik Learn Mode only does [your chosen language] + Korean.

The reason I ask is because I realised Chinese often conveys what they’re saying a whole lot better, but I find reading English a lot easier. Maybe I’m asking for too much lol but just curious if there’s any way :slightly_smiling_face:

There isn’t. The learn mode only does the language spoken in the show plus one other one. There might be Chinese subtitles available for a K-drama, but you would watch them separately or together with Korean (if available). Only the Chinese-spoken shows have the option to watch with Chinese and English subs (if available).
Apart from in Learn Mode, there will always be 1 set of subtitles.


Thanks. If any other Eng-Chi speakers (eg from SG/Msia) are interested, I found a good way: an extension someone wrote for Viki called MoST Subtitles. Choose English subtitles with the extension, and turn on Chinese subtitles on Viki (or vice versa). Or, if you want to keep it simple, just use the Options page on the extension to add all your languages.

Sorry, I’m not sure what this forum’s official position on extensions are, so feel free to remove if extensions are frowned upon :slight_smile:

1 Like

Interesting! That could be useful for us editors when we want to see what some other similar language (that we happen to know) has done to solve the problem of a tricky sentence. For instance when I’m editing Italian, I could look at French and Spanish, which function very similarly.