Netflix and learn: How to learn a language using Netflix

Netflix and learn

If you’ve ever felt guilty about choosing Netflix over study, you’re not alone. Regular study of the language you’re learning is paramount to you achieving fluency, but sometimes it can be hard to squeeze a study session into your busy day.

Enter: the Netflix language learning cheat sheet!

By following the instructions below, you’ll have access to relevant and exciting learning material that you are actually interested in. We’ll also touch on the type of options you have for learning such as original content (produced in the language you’re searching for), dubbed (audio has been recorded over the original language audio) and subtitles (in original or dubbed language with your choice of subtitle).

We’ll pretend our native language is English, and that we’re learning German for the following examples, so any time you see the word [German], insert the language you’re learning.

Please note that these instructions are intended for the desktop version of Netflix as it has an easier search function, but we have added some tips throughout if you’re using the Netflix app on your TV.

Original content
Pro: Fantastic accuracy of spoken language leaves no room for translation error
Con: Beginners may struggle with the speed and complexity of the dialogue
Pro tip: Choose a genre and story line that intrigues you, and one which has good ratings online
Instructions:

  1. Go to the Search bar
  2. Type ‘[German] language’
  3. Click on one of the options next to ‘Explore titles related to:’ for example ‘German-language Movies & TV’
  4. Choose a title and click the play button
  5. It may default to a dubbed version in your default language, in this case English, so click on the audio and subtitles button which looks like a speech bubble
  6. Under ‘Audio’ Select [German] à Notice you will see [Original] next to it in brackets

 

Dubbed audio
Pro:
Great range of content available for viewing, and gives you the excuse to re-watch a series you absolutely love
Con: The translation may not be as accurate as the original audio, may not match subtitles, and may be out of time with the scenes
Pro tip: Re-watch one of your favourite childhood movies and you’ll be amazed at how much you can understand!
Instructions:

  1. Once logged in, type this link into your browser: https://www.netflix.com/browse/audio
  2. It will bring you to the ‘Audio & subtitles’ page – select ‘Audio’ in the first box, and ‘[German]’ in the second box
  3. If searching on the Netflix App on TV, type ‘Audio in [German]’
  4. Choose a title and click the play button
  5. If it plays in your default language, in this case English, click on the audio and subtitles button
  6. Under ‘Audio’, select [German]


Subtitles

Pro:
Great for visual learners who need to read the words to understand them
Con: The translation again may not be as accurate as the audio content, and may also prevent your listening skills from fully developing
Pro tip: Always choose ‘Closed Captions (CC)’ to avoid confusion where possible as it has a higher chance of matching the audio, frame and original content
Instructions:

  1. Once logged in, type this link into your browser: https://www.netflix.com/browse/audio
  2. It will bring you to the ‘Audio & subtitles’ page – select ‘Subtitles’ in the first box, and ‘[German]’ in the second box
  3. If searching on the Netflix App on TV, type ‘Subtitles in [German]’
  4. Choose a title and click the play button
  5. You have a couple of choices here depending on your language skill level – Click on the audio and subtitles button:
    Choice 1: Under ‘Audio’ select your native language [English] and under ‘Subtitles’ select [German]

Choice 2: Under ‘Audio’ select [German] and under ‘Subtitles’ select [English]

Choice 3: Under ‘Audio’ select [German and under ‘Subtitles’ select [German]

 

NB: Whilst Netflix gets things right most of the time, sometimes they might get your hopes up by displaying titles that don’t actually have the dubbed audio or subtitles in the language you’re searching for. Always check by looking at the options in the ‘subtitle and audio’ button.

Now you can sit back, relax and learn. Bookmark this page for quick reference, or like any good learner, memorise these instructions to get one step closer to fluency!

What shows have you been watching in another language? Let us know in the comments.

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