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Subtitles: With or Without You?

Let us solve the eternal dilemma of all English Learners who love movies, TV Series and who want to add some of that to their Self Study in English. So: Should we watch content in English without any subtitles? Or maybe with subtitles? If so, in English or in our own language?

… and also… WHY? Who should watch which way? Does it depend on your level? Is there an IDEAL way? Fear Not, we’ve got your back! Here are the answers to all your questions, plus some tips and good TV series and movies to consider if you want to boost your English.

Created with love by: My Personal English Coach

The Trio of Subtitle Strategies

Picture this: you’re snuggled up, popcorn in hand, ready to embark on a binge-watching odyssey. But how do you set your subtitle sails? And, most importantly: Who Should Opt for What?

Going Commando – Without Subtitles: This is like plunging into the ocean with no life jacket. Just you and the vast, thrilling expanse of a new language.

Advanced Learners, Go Bold: You’re ready to swim solo. Let go of the subtitles. Trust your ears and intuition to guide you through the linguistic waves.

Balancing Act – Subtitles in the Language You’re Learning: Here, you’re walking the tightrope with a safety net. Reading and listening in the same language – it’s a harmonious dance of words.

Intermediates, Your Turn: Ready to push the boundaries? Turn off those native language subtitles. Your brain’s ready to juggle listening and reading in the new language – a perfect workout for your linguistic muscles.

Home Turf Advantage – Subtitles in Your Language: Comfortable and familiar, but there’s a catch. Your brain, the ever-efficient organ, tends to default to the easier task – reading in your native language. And suddenly, the audio becomes just background noise.

Beginners, BEWARE: Jumping straight into no subtitles might be like diving without knowing how to swim. Subtitles in your native language? Tempting, but remember, your brain might tune out the audio. The golden middle path? See above: Subtitles in the language you’re learning.

Special Note for Aspiring Translators:

Fancy subtitles in a third language? That’s more about honing translation skills than language learning. It’s like playing a game of linguistic hopscotch.

The Gains from Each Game Plan

  • Without Subtitles: Full immersion. You’re training your brain to grasp meaning from context and intonation. It’s tough, but the gains are huge.
  • Subtitles in the Language You’re Learning: Ideal for most learners. Your ears and eyes work in tandem, enriching your comprehension and retention.
  • Subtitles in Your Language: Good for beginners, but watch out. Your brain might choose the path of least resistance and ignore the audio.

What to watch or read to boost your English?

Is There the IDEAL Way to Watch Content in English?

3 Key TIPS for you

When it comes to consuming content in English, the ‘ideal’ way is as unique as your favourite pizza topping. It’s less about rigid rules and more about what keeps your brain happily engaged and your heart filled with joy.

The Joy of Comprehension: If you’re pausing every two minutes to look up words, chances are you’re turning a delightful experience into a tedious task. The ideal solution? Subtitles in English. They’re like a friendly guide, helping you along without constant interruptions.

The Familiarity Factor: Frustrated because you’re lost in a sea of unfamiliar words? Here’s a tip: revisit your all-time favourite movies – the ones you’ve watched a gazillion times in your native language. Watching them in English this time around can be a revelation. You already know the story, so you can relax and let your brain focus on the language, picking up phrases and expressions with ease.

Series Over Movies – The Less-Stress Route: Decision fatigue is real, especially when scrolling through endless movie options. Why not switch to series? They offer smaller, bite-sized episodes – easy to digest and perfect for regular language practice. Plus, you get to follow a storyline over time, which can be a more engaging way to learn.

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