Understanding movies in a second language

I’m at the point in my studies where I can listen to the news or a TV show without subtitles, but I still have a lot of difficulty understanding movies. Besides becoming more comfortable conversing in Spanish, being able to fully understand Spanish movies without subtitles is one of my many long-term goals. For those who have reached a level in another language where they can understand a movie without subtitles, how long did it take you?

Jul 23, 2014 5:36 AM
Comments · 5

Thanks for the responses everyone. I think all of you are pretty much in the same situation that I am in. Dorothy, I also would dislike viewing children's programming. Watching a show that I have no interest in would take the fun out of learning a language. The only Spanish programming that I’ve come across that has exact Spanish subtitles are the original series on HBO Latino. You made a good point about the use of slang in movies, Alfredo. Along with different accents and slight variations in pronunciation, slang can make some of the simpler conversations harder to understand.

When I first studied Spanish years ago, most of the movies I purchased were from Spain, so the accent was easier for me to understand. Now that I live in the Arizona, most of the spoken Spanish I come across is spoken with various Mexican, Central American, or Southern American accents. When I tried to watch one of my older movies from Spain the other day, I had to constantly rewind it because the accent was throwing me off. So, I guess I’ll just have to stick with subtitles for the foreseeable future.

July 25, 2014

I would hate to have to listen to kids programs, but I just LOVE watching adult movies even if I have to use the subtitles and it's really helping. Remember, the subtitles often don't match what is actually said so you learn synonyms in Spanish this way too and you also train your ear to hear when something is different. 


What I'm finding is that more movies than I expected are dubbed into Spanish with Spanish subtitles availabe too so we get them and I watch them in Spanish with Spanish subtitles and then in English with my husband and then again in Spanish with no subtitles to see how much I really can pick up. The movies of course have to be good in order for me to be willing to watch them 3 times! I think it's really helping though. 

July 24, 2014

As I was learning spanish it took me less than half year, but that is because in romania we have this soap operas in origianl version so I spent lot of time hearing spanish but without assimilate the language.


This luck I don't have it with german. Is much harder. I am learning it since 2 years and some films are still hard to me to understand. I think it depends a lot of the family language. for example, for a latin language speaker is much easier to understand another latin language as a japanic language.


Keep learning and looking easy films, like for kids, without subtitles so you can practice it without beeing frustrated. I am speaking from own experience. :)

July 23, 2014

¡Todavía uso subtitulos en inglés! Es mucho más difícil comprender una película que una conversación viva. No es ninguna veguenza usar todas las herramientas que tengas. :) 

July 23, 2014

AMi me pasa igual, pero aún no logro dominar el contenido dicho dentro de las peliculas mi amigo, de hehco siempre tengo que poner subtitulos porque en ocasiones las peliculas, por lo general americanas tienden a incluir demasiados modismos cosa que no ocurre con las britanicas.

July 23, 2014
Language Skills
English, Spanish
Learning Language