DVDs with subtitles in the same language as the audio

I am interested in watching German films with the ability to switch on German subtitles (not English ones).
Same with French films (French subtitles). And Italian and Dutch, come to that.

It seems to be difficult to get these on Amazon or high street shops in Europe. After all, why would you want to have subtitles in the same language as the dialogue? DVDs aren’t made for language learners, sadly.

Any ideas?

I too have been very interested to watch German films with German subtitles, yet I haven’t had a lot of success finding them. Perhaps I’m not looking in the right places…

I use ConvertXtoDVD to add subtitles to media. subscene.com and allsubs.org can be useful sources for these. Even so, German subtitles can be difficult to find.

@ Jamie wrote: " It seems to be difficult to get these [e.g. German subtitles to German movies] on Amazon or high street shops in Europe. After all, why would you want to have subtitles in the same language as the dialogue? DVDs aren’t made for language learners, sadly."

Yes, it is sadly. However, Jamie has already given the answer to his question - you would want subtitles, in the same language as the dialog, for language learners. We are planning to produce special subtitles, tailored to the needs of language learners, in contrast to the common subtitles, which, actually, have been designed for the needs of hearing disabled or hard-to-hear people.

Here in USA or Canada it is not a problem to get a movie on DVD in English with the English subtitles. To the contrary, it is nearly a rule that a movie on DVD will come with the subtitles. And the reason are the laws about the hearing disabled people and people with disabilities. (The laws do not oblige to put subtitles on DVD, but they demand to subtitle nearly any movie to be shown on TV. So putting subtitles on a DVD, which is very cheap in comparison to the cost of the movie, may be considerd a tradition. I believe the DVD subtiltling is also, at least in the case of American and British films, a source of an additional profit for the manufacturers, because not only the hearing disable people, but much more numerous non-native speakers and learners of English look for them .

I am really curious to find it out. Is it indeed difficult to find German movies on DVD with the German subtitles in Germany? Spanish movies on DVD with the Spanish subtitles in Spain? Italian in Italy, etc (sorry for etc :-). Please share your experince, dear Lingquers.

Thank you in advance.

Hi Jamie,
Look at www.amazon.de for German DVDs.
Also a lot of the DVDs on the British amazon come with German audio and subtitles.
It is definitely not a problem to get DVDs with audio and subtitles in German. DVDs that I buy here have usually both!

I usually check out amazon.de too, they have free delivery to the Netherlands these days.

I watch German dvds, but usually without subtitles and looking at the description on the amazon pages, a lot of German films don’t seem to have German subtitles because it doesn’t say “untertitel” at all.

It’s funny because almost all English language dvds I have, have these English subtitles for the hearing impaired on them.

Just looking at a few dvds I found that Das Boot and Soul Kitchen both have German subtitles on their dvd on amazon.de.

Two enjoyable films to get you started I’d say.

Check out your local library Jamie. You need a big town library with a “World Films” section. You might find a couple there in a language you are learning.

I was lucky in that the first DVD I ever bought, Francis Coppola’s Dracula, had French and German soundtracks and subtitles, plus subtitles only in a load more languages.

I know it seems strange that some DVD manufacturers would leave the native language subtitles out but I can assure you all that we aren’t making it up. I’m holding in my hand my Werner Herzog box set and none of the films have anything other than English subtitles. I suspect it comes down to cost and demand. The manufacturer probably has to pay a licence fee for subtitle tracks and consequently they don’t licence them for markets that don’t usually require them e.g the UK. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of DVD’s available here not just with German subtitles but also with German dubbing but in the UK at least, it isn’t guaranteed. Each DVD publisher sems to have their own policy and it can vary from edition to edition as well.

One way to get DVD with German subtitles may be to look for co-productions. I know that there are a few films which are French/German/British co-productions, Then there are the Italian/German ones etc etc.

I agree with Vera. Amazon.de is a great place to look for German films - both original German cinema, and Holywood films with a dubbed German soundtrack.

Films aimed at the German market very often do have subtitles in German too - for the benefit of viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. (However, you should be aware that the subtitles don’t always exactly match the dialogue on screen!)

BTW should that be “Hollywood” or “Holywood”…!? :-0

I’ve bought a few German books, films etc second-hand from German eBay too.

I see that part of the problem is that Amazon often not mention the available subtitles! I did some research and found a website where you get more information about the DVD: http://www.cinefacts.de/dvd/review/index.php I hope this helps.

@exdigita: I checked the Werner Herzog box and it seems that you’re right. Probably older movies have no German subtitles.

I read on the internet that Warner Brothers stopped creating German subtitles for every movie to save money. The reason: Movies in German are usually dubbed so subtitles are not needed for the TV.

Yes, in my experience, I did not find TV dramas or films with subtitles ( for native speakers). There are some American TV dramas such as Friends, Happy days with subtitles but not every film. So I used to watch ones without subtitles. But in France also, there are some films such as “Je vous trouve très beau” with french subtitles for the hearing disabled people and people with disabilities.

I checked my DVDs, and most of them have German subtitles.

When I don’t find a film with subtitles, when this film has a very interesting scene, in this case, I write down all the sentences in a notebook or type them on a Notepad, and send them to tutors to correct them. It is a good idea for me to improve my listening skill.

Thanks, everyone, for your helpful comments.

I suggest being very careful about using the subtitles too much to understand the spoken language. If you can read the text, your brain is less likely to do the necessary work to listen and understand the spoken language. I didn’t know this for years and I think it actually hurt my ability to listen and understand, which is the most difficult part of learning any language. Now I listen more without worrying too much about trying to understand every word. Another good practice is to listen a few times and then look at subtitles (or a transcript) to pick up what you couldn’t understand by just listening.

Sometimes you can find the subtitles to a film separately on the internet, and by some technical process that I don’t understand (magic possibly), add them to your DVD.

Be aware that the subtitles aren’t a straight copy of the words the actors say. The swear words in particular are often modified for the subtitles. I know this from watching German films with subtitles :wink: But they do give an idea of what is being said.

In fact you can add dvd subtitles and choose the language you want by yourself. Soft or hard subtitles. You can use handbrake or its alternative 404 | Page Now Found | WonderFox the “Subtitle” tab on the main interface of Handbrake. Then press “Import SRT” button to embed .srt subtitle to the movie file. You can attach more than one subtitle to the movie with Handbrake. Then choose the output format you want from the side window and click “Start” to add srt to AVI or even a YouTube video. Then you won’t worry about how to add subtitles to a YouTube video any more and can freely enjoy movies with subtitles in your favorite language.