How to learn a language with YouTube, no. 2: how to customise subtitles and playback speed

You can customise subtitles and playback speed for videos on YouTube. José explains how to get the most out of these tools. Netflix offers similar options for subtitles and playback speed.

If you just want to listen to the audio, you’ll find it here.

Did you see our first video on how to get the most out of videos in Spanish (or any other language)? Miguel explains how to use some keyboard shortcuts here.  

Hi! Great to see you!

This is our second video about how the tools on YouTube can help you to learn a language.

First: the subtitles. I’m sure you already know that subtitles rarely match exactly what the actors or announcers are saying. Normally, this doesn’t matter. But for language students it’s essential to be able to see and hear the exact words at the same time. For this reason, in the clips from TV and movies that we use in our courses, we have uploaded subtitles that really do match exactly what the actors or announcers are saying.

In this clip three friends are talking about the contents of a bag belonging to a young Basque woman who left it behind after spending the night with one of them.  You will hear examples of Andalusian pronuncation, as well as some words that we explain in the lesson.

Joaquín:   ¡Cuidao, Currito! no vaya a haber un artefacto explosivo ahí dentro, ¡hijo!

Careful Curro! In case there’s an explosive device inside, mate!

Curro:      ¡Anda ya!

Oh, come on!

Curro:      ¿Tú estás seguro de que este bolso es de una mujer? Porque aquí no hay ni pintalabios, ni rímel, ni nada.

Are you sure this is a woman’s bag? Because there’s no lipstick, or mascara, or anything.

Joaquín:   ¡Si las vascas no se maquillan!

Well, Basque women don’t wear makeup!

Rafael:     Joaquín, que tú viste a la muchacha, que podía ser perfectamente Miss Euskadi.

Joaquín, you saw the girl, she could easily be Miss Basque Country.

To activate the subtitles in the TV and movie clips in our courses, click on Settings. Then choose the language.

We suggest you view the clip several times, first with subtitles and later without, until you can distinguish every word and phrase without the subtitles.

Another useful tool: you can slow down the video so you can distinguish every word. Then you can view it at normal speed. Watch this video. [The video is in English]

Let’s review what we’ve learned so far. If you don’t understand something, try these strategies:

First: rewind 5 or 20 seconds

Second: If it’s still hard for you, rewind again and activate the subtitles in Spanish.

Third: If you can hear each word but still don’t get the meaning, rewind again and choose the subtitles in English.

Do you know other ways to get the most out of videos to help you learn a language? Leave us a comment below!

By the way, you can find the transcription of this video, in English and in Spanish, in our blog.

Bye for now!

Please leave us a comment, a question, or a suggestion below: we’d love to hear from you!

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Participate in our Community page on YouTube.  You’ll find short quizzes, surveys, and quick explanations of vocabulary or grammar points.  

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Real Spanish: Courses and mini-lessons for people who are serious about improving their Spanish.
14 de November de 2023

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