Simultaneously reading text while watching/listening

I can’t seem to remember, is it recommended or discouraged to be reading the onscreen text (if available) while listening or watching a film or video. Are there mixed opinions about this? Of course, I’m talking about reading the onscreen text in the same language, not as a translation.

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If by just listening you cannot follow the story of the film, reading the onscreen text seems a good solution to me!
After that, you could watch the film a second time, without looking at the onscreen text.


Trust me: there are mixed opinions about most any question you can think of, and rather loud and opinionated at that.

IMO, in most cases the answer is the same: it doesn’t matter much. Just expose yourself to the language so that:

  • you understand the main message through whatever means are necessary, which depend on your current level, these include looking up subtitles, transcriptions, translations, …
  • you pay attention to the language, however this may vary a lot from hard concentration to passing notice of some words or phrases, depending on your level and current mental state
  • it is as enjoyable and engrossing as possible
    As you get more proficient you may want to ignore the subtitles more and more and even turn them off but don’t rush it and feel free to use them as much as you find them useful

I personally am not a big fun of sub-titles. I’d rather move from audio with transcription to no-subtitles videos that I can partially understand but that’s just me and I do use subtitles on occasion. As an example, I’ve found that even “reverse” subtitles may be useful. By “reverse” I mean watching videos in a language you master with subtitles in your target language

I tend to find when reading and listening at the same time that after a few minutes my mind turns off listening to the speech and I find myself just assimilating the information just by reading. This is probably due to the fact that my level of listening comprehension is far below my level of reading and speaking.