When you watch tv shows/movies in your target language

Do you purposefully search out movies/tv shows produced in the language you are learning? Or do you prefer to watch english made movies but dubbed into your target language? See, I have this problem with finding interesting stuff at the momnt in german to watch and just can’t(besides the series “Dark”, fantastic). But I hate watching dubbed german on an english series where I could just listen to the original actor’s voice. The voice dubbing sucks all the life out these tv shows/movies. Funny thing is, A vast majority of the shows my host brother watches, actually all, are english series with german voices.


a German perspective:
my preference is

  1. shows produced in the target language
  2. shows produced in any other language including English, dubbed in the target language.
    My current no1 target language is Greek. As a general rule, Greek tv broadcasts US tv shows with subtitles, but there are some documentaries on youtube where the English narration is replaced by a Greek one. Learning a language from countries where they do dubbing, I probably would include those tv shows in my diet.
  3. German shows. I wrote “German perspective” because the chance of stumbling upon German/Swiss/Austrian shows or movies on foreign tv stations is diminishing, anyway, so basically you don’t need them to find enough material. I could watch some German crime series in Italian, but no, thanks. They sound funny, but the most interesting one (“Tatort”) apparently isn’t published abroad and the rest just doesn’t fascinate me enough.
    “Dark”: Everyone seems to like that one, but I don’t know it, yet.

I think watching documentaries in German would help you more, if you are interested in them.
Are you able to watch material from ardmediathek.de in your country? For example this one:
There are subtitles available, they are not very accurate, but surely useful.
(The series this video belongs stems from the “Tatort” series, that’s why I chose this one as an example. It’s a 90 min tv production from 1998. It will disappear from the site in two days)


I tend to prefer material original created in the language but I do consume translated/dubbed content. In general I insist more in original texts to read. I have only read one translated novel in Russian, for example (one by Japanese writer Murakami).
However, I do watch more dubbed TV shows because:

  1. They help you find intermediate level audio more easily. Typically original video uses more idioms and implied cultural references, which makes it more difficult to understand. In particular, I find that dubbed anime is very helpful to watch when you can already understand a bit but original series are still difficult
  2. In the case of Russian, it is possible to find lots of films from other countries whose language I don’t understand. I do watch those
  3. Every now and then, there’s a TV show or film that I kinda am interested in but I really hate wasting time binge watching, because I rarerly do so in general, plus I’m rather sure that the show will end up a bit silly in the end anyway. Then I may choose watch it in my target language so I feel that I’m still doing something productive. The last example is “Game of Thrones” that I’ve watched in Russian. I’m so happy with that decision!!!

1.) Little known secret: Sometimes the actors’ voices in a movie are not actually “their” voices, even in English. Actors often have to re-record their auido in the studio to get a cleaner sound mix, and busy stars often don’t wanna spend the time doing that so the producers get a “sound alike” to do the re-recording.

Supposedly Tom Hanks actually hires his brother to do the re-recording for him when needed, and he’s not the only one with a regular sound alike to work for them.

All that is to say, movies are all smoke and mirrors by design. None of it is real - it’s all an illusion. The story is all in your head, the images and sound are just a means of triggering it.

2.) “Not liking dubbed movies” is mostly the privilege of the English speaker. A lot of people who grow up in a non-english speaking country, grow up watching dubbed movies – and for these people, the idea, and the illusion, that Tom Hanks speaks their own language on the TV or movie screen becomes a “natural” part of the experience.

3.) For those not used to this, watching dubbed content can take some getting used to, but the more you listen to a language, the more “natural” dubbing might sound to you – albeit to a limit, because:

4.) Yes, there is some added artificiality to a dubbed show, BUT:

5.) Dubbed movies and TV shows can be a great language learning tool! They’re usually easier to understand than movies shot in their “own language,” it’s easier to find content that may interest you, and thanks to services like Netflix, dubbed versions of popular content is more available now than ever before. At the very least, re-watching a movie you’ve enjoyed in your own langue, but now dubbed in another, is a great way to start dipping into native level content.

6.) Accepting, and learning to enjoy dubbed content can help you simulate an immersion experience when you’re not in your target country, because a good portion of what you would see on TV if you went to other countries would be dubbed shows and movies anyway.

I’m not suggesting that anyone should force themselves to watch their favorite show dubbed, if they’d rather not. But we should accept that dubbed content is as integral part of the linguistic media landscape that is of great value to those who wanna use it to learn – and a natural part of daily life for those who live in non-english speaking countries.



Here’s what you should check out:

mdr.de – Radio, Fernsehen, Nachrichten für Mitteldeutschland | MDR.DE

Alle Videos und Livestreams des BR | ARD Mediathek



These websites have 100% Native German content that include German subtitles. What’s even more special is that YOU can import these videos using the LINGQ EXTENSION. The LingQ Extension will turn these videos into an easy to read, interactive lessons where you can look up words, phrases, listen on your LingQ mobile app, review, and a lot more.

Best of all, you can store all your videos in one place (aka LingQ) and stay organized and spend more time studying than searching. Good luck!

" Do you purposefully search out movies/tv shows produced in the language you are learning? "

Yes. :slight_smile:


Hey Eric I can’t find list that you made a while go where you had a list of all kinds of resources in a bunch of languages. Where can i find that list again?

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https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1eqe9yLfkIIQ_J1zI9DjYUYy5dsS0_84jzxbWeEC-NJM/edit?usp=sharing - Go to File → Make a copy if you’d like to save/edit it.


I absolutely agree with @t_harangi. In fact, I did grow up watching dubbed shows, although I don’t own a TV set anymore. As a further confirmation: in Russian, you often find films that are “overubbed”, that is, the original soundtrack is still there and you hear the dubbed version on top of it. The first time I heard that I was absolutely freaked out and I thought it was impossible to hear. Howerver, over time I’ve got used to it and now I routinely watch such “overdubbed” films. It’s a great way to watch Asian films, for example, that are hard to find in other versions while I practice my Russian listening skills.
Bottomline: you can get used to anything

Thanks Eric! You the MVP.

Wow thanks for the good work :slight_smile:

Same question as I asked above: Are the German sources free to watch in your country?
(I am asking because for example Swedish national broadcaster SVT restricts its content so that tv series cannot be watched outside of Sweden without tricks.)

There’s “overdubbed” with a different voice for each character, and there’s overdubbed with one voice doing all the parts, from the little boy to the old grandmother! I’m sure you’ve encountered that, too. I’ve got to the point where I recognized some of the dubbers and have my favorites. :slight_smile: I’ve wondered how legitimate some of those are, whether they’re pirated, but it’s not my job to police the Internet.

And I absolutely agree with your point #2 above – I’ve found some wonderful films with Russian dubbing from other countries that I never would have known about or been able to enjoy otherwise.

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I don’t actually search , instead I find opportunity to watch and English movies from where I can learn something. There are few actors or actresses who speak awesome.

I am in Canada and the sites I linked work for me.

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Thanks, Eric :slight_smile:

I agree that German dubbing can be terrible. When I was a lot younger, I said it sounded like a psychiatrist in an underground parking garage. I don’t really know how I came to that idea, but that’s what I imagined it sounded like. I watch very little German these days, but I am a big fan of Expeditionen ins Tierreich and Abenteuer Erde although–all too rarely–I also watch something about quackery.
For Japanese, I try to find Japanese-spoken with Japanese closed caption. In practice, that means I am limited to original Japanese. The reason I like this is that closed captioned text is usually (but sadly not always) identical to what is actually said. I call it “karaoke without singing” even though “Sing-along without singing” would be a better description.

one thing I used to watch a lot of when I was working on my spanish listening comprehension was youtube videos.

I would set my location to spain and watch all the spanish youtubers in spanish of course and it really helped me with my listening comprehension

Thanks for the links! How do you download the subtitles?