Spanish Subtitles Versus Slow Spanish as Learning Tool

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Spanish subtitles

The jury is out on how much viewing Spanish subtitles on video or film footage helps you learn a second language. We’ve been looking at Spanish in particular and back the idea of blending a number of approaches. Have you heard of Slow Spanish for example?

It’s a great idea! You basically subscribe to News in Slow Spanish and listen, in Spanish, to the weekly news, items on science and technology, arts and culture and trending topics right now in Spain. Whatever takes your fancy.

Start With Slow Spanish

The site is divided into material for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners of Spanish and includes accompanying transcripts and translations into English of key phrases and new vocabulary. It is a brilliant idea: engaging, allowing learners to absorb the language while watching material that is relevant and up-to-date culturally. What’s not to like?

For beginners, we recommend combining this approach with watching Spanish films with the Spanish subtitles switched on. If you do not understand, or understand very little Spanish, try watching the first 10 minutes of a Spanish film without the help of subtitles. If the film is dialogue-heavy you may come away with an unusual take on what is happening. Switch on the Spanish subtitles, hope and pray the subtitles have not been generated automatically, but instead crafted by a subtitling professional, and the plot becomes clear.

As you have already watched the first 10 minutes without the aid of Spanish subtitles, you can now concentrate on matching the audio to the subtitles you see on the screen.

Now Try Without the Spanish Subtitles

Finally, if you are feeling especially diligent, watch again, but this time without the aid of the subtitles and see how much you have picked up.

For those of you with more advanced Spanish language skills, repeat the above process, but this time with the English subtitles switched on.

Back in the dark ages one of our directors taught English as a foreign language in Spain and we asked her whether she had found Spanish subtitles a useful teaching tool.

Melissa replied, “Subtitles? I wish. Back in the day we sat in small airless rooms with books. That was it. The idea of adding subtitles in any language was generally restricted to arthouse films. You couldn’t simply turn subtitles on and off at will and there was no universal imperative to encourage or make it obligatory to ensure the greatest possible accessibility. I am thinking in terms of either for a Deaf or hard-of-hearing audience or to those faced with a language barrier. The relationship between accessibility and subtitling has always interested me and is one of the reasons that nowadays Knockhundred has cutting-edge subtitling services at the forefront of its offering.”

Do find out more about our Spanish subtitling services here. We’d be very happy to help with any queries or projects you might be planning.

Do you need translations? Get in touch.

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