Netflix spoken vs subtitles in target language

This is not a LingQ question per se but I wonder if there is any technical trick or solution to a problem I have and thought someone here might know.

I like to watch Netflix movies and shows with my target language (French) turned on. What drives me bat crazy is that if I also turn on French subtitles they match the spoken words NOT AT ALL. That is, the meaning is similar but the actual words are rather dramatically different. It’s very curious and quite common. The only exception is if the movie is actually in French originally, then the subtitles are more likely to match the speech.

Is there any tool that would do the equivalent of a closed caption so I could see the words that are actually being spoken in the French dub instead of some weird colloquial approximation?

And, does anyone know why the subtitles don’t match? My only guess is that for some reason it is translated separately for the dub and the subtitles… but why?

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Who knows? My guess is that the subtitles are translations of the original audio and the dubbed audio was added later.

AFAIK you can’t upload your own captions on the Netflix website.

There is a way to do it with the Rooster Netflix Overlay extension although it is not a free tool.

  1. Download Netflix Audio

  2. Convert Audio to MP3

  3. Upload audio to LingQ

  4. Wait for text transcription to finish

  5. (Optional) Add a translation

  6. Connect this lesson with Rooster overlay on Netflix website


This drives me crazy too. The frustration I get from this makes it impossible for me to watch shows in German with German subtitles.

It even happens with films that are subtitled in the language the speech is in. I assume what happens is that the subtitles match the original script, but with rewrites and ad-libbing during the performances, the spoken words get changed, but the script never does.

The folks at Lingopie claim their subtitle text always matches the spoken words in every show/movie, but I have yet to try Lingopie, so I don’t know for sure.


I think there’s a variety of reasons, some suggested here already. Another thing I think they do with German and probably all languages is to “simplify” the text. Not in the sense of making it easier perhaps, but shorter. i.e for German they may use the simple past in the subtitles but the speaker is using present perfect.

This did really bug me originally, but it doesn’t seem as bad now. I’m not sure if the Netflix subtitles have improved a bit, or that I can hear the nuances a little better (I can really understand what they are saying) and make the distinctions while reading the subtitles.

In any event, looks like Rooster’s extension would help. I was going to suggest what he was suggesting, but the more manual approach…

Do all his steps above to get the transcription created in LingQ…and read along within LingQ. You could do reading and listening in LingQ. Although Rooster’s tool sounds like it would work great for this as you’l have it overlayed on the Netflix movie itself (assuming everything lines up timing wise??).



This sounds perfect, thanks! I don’t mind a paid tool. I use LingQ solely for reading novels, which works great so I haven’t used the rooster tools or explored how Lingq interacts with video/Netflix.

I see your carefully explained steps but since I am starting from zero here, is there a getting started guide for the rooster tools that might jump start me?

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Great, glad I can help.

JPP025 wrote the GitBook Guide which is updated regularly.

There is also a simple (slightly dated) PDF for getting started with Video Tools too.

Timing should be pretty good. If not, there is always the option of doing Heavy Import from the video tools. (Which preserves the timestamps). Transcribe the new lesson and copy the timestamps from old lesson or replace the old lesson text with the transcribed text.



  • I have purchased the comprehensive LingQ premium extension, downloaded FireFox developer, and installed the Master LingQ extension from the zip file and the two Netflix extensions from the subfolder found in the unzipped file.
  • I have logged into Netflix from FireFox.
  • I have read a bunch of guides and watched some videos but completely lost at this point.
  1. The extensions did not ask for a key. How/where do I enter that?
  2. I can’t figure out how to get to the menu shown in the video. The video shows the menu already up.
  3. What steps do I take to download Netflix Audio for my video of choice?

Thank you so much for your help. Let me know if you prefer a direct email or to continue on this forum.

Here is what I see when I go to Netflix from Firefox Developer:

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Thanks for your purchase, I believe this is an easy fix.

I just tested out the install process on Firefox Developer. Indeed, it didn’t show up on the first load. I had to open a video and refresh the page.

1/2 Should be fixed with page refresh.
3. Change the audio language through the subtitles menu and then watch the video for 30 secs and press download. (May need to refresh page after changing Audio)

LMK if still having issues, my e-mail listed on the help docs if you prefer.


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Another tool that I find useful is asbplayer. It allows uploading my own subtitles. I haven’t tried it with Netflix though, only on YouTube and S4C (a Welsh TV channel).


Subtitles and dubs both have different criteria.

Dubs must match when the person is speaking or appears to be. This may mean that a speaker says a single word, but the translation would be a phrase in another language. This means the dub will be very short, but the sub may be longer.

Dubs must match the mouth movements to some extent. Like if a person has an open mouth, elongating/screaming one word, it would be strange for it to be dubbed into multiple words.

Subs on the other hand are limited by the size of the screen. And they must also take in account reading speed. In the above example, if the speaker says one word, which would translate into a phrase in another language, if the time before the next speaker is short, there is not enough time to read a long subtitle.

Point is, both have different criteria and they have little motivation to align both subtitles and dubs, as it’s not super common to use both dubs and subtitles. Furthermore, my guess is that they can be done by two separate people/companies: one which sells dubbing services, while another sells subtitle services.

This is an issue, which has been around for years for language learners wanting to watch a dubbed movie with subs on. Since Whisper, Language Reactor has a paid feature for ‘sub a dub’. @roosterburton’s Netflix Audio Downloader was designed for such a purpose too, from my understanding (and Netflix movies without subtitles). I haven’t tried them myself, but if you’re into watching dubbed content, I’d say they are worth trying out, if the language you are learning works well with Whisper.

My preference is to watch original content in the languages I’m learning, if I want to watch with subtitles on. Not too long ago, Netflix added a filter to only show original content by language. I only get the option to filter for the language of the country I’m VPNing through though (when watching Netflix, I only VPN through the country of the language I’m learning to get the most content related to that language).


@nfera That is very interesting and makes complete sense. Thanks for explaining it.

What vendor do you use for your VPN? Do you establish separate streaming accounts in the country of interest?

I am happy to report that I was able to use the Rooster tools + LingQ to create a perfect set of subtitles for a random Netflix dubbed show. So exciting to have this option now.


It’s due to different translations available and different subtitles versions as well, so the Netflix dubbed audio is different from the subtitle file. You can upload subtitle file in this case, there are multiple websites to download captions in almost all languages. You can try this:)

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I only use Netflix to study Italian, so can’t comment on the best way to study multiple languages with it. When I set up the account, I also selected Italian as my only language and for the display to be in Italian (you can access these options on the browser).

Regarding a VPN, there are several out options out there with features of getting through Netflix. They often offer packages to bundle the VPN with cloud storage and a password manager, which are useful in today’s modern era. The best prices are on sale days, when you buy the two-year plans. NordVPN is a very popular option, not that I use it myself.

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This is actually a pretty smart solution for a unnecessary problem that Netflix causes (in all languages that I know of). It probably was constructed this way, before transcription was an option. EDIT: after seeing the explanation of kindl, I have to admit, there is more to this than I thought. Thanks for the explain @kindl !

You are pretty consistently creating software to support Lingq: isn’t that taking a lot of your free time and away from your language study time? I am just curious. Also, might be good to add the price here, should anyone want to subscribe (I assume it is a subscription model, please correct me if I am wrong).

Well done mr rooster!

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That is a great question @gbonnema

I remember importing my first Netflix lesson from the library (Deadwind in Finnish) and not having access to anything except the subtitles. So I watched it on Netflix and didn’t understand very much in real time.

I remember opening karaoke mode and not having an option to turn the translation on. Inconveniences that quickly add up if used regularly. You start to think, where is the bang for my buck? How can I make these hours count? Why is LingQ reader the only beneficial display mode? Is there an opportunity here?

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time just watching Youtube videos, either in English or Finnish with Finnish subtitles on the Rooster overlay. It has been extremely beneficial in expanding vocab

Have seen this issue on Disney/Amazon prime too. A quick google search can get you a Disney+ Audio downloader, Amazon Prime seems more challenging.

You should have access already → Master LingQ Drive

Only subscriptions you need are to LingQ and the streaming provider in question. Tools are 1 time purchase, as a package or individual. Rooster Web Extensions

Also, not sure if you’re a part of Lotta’s group calls. Have been wanting to come, just need to figure out the timezone diff!


Can also confirm, this method works great on Disney+

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