Viki is a Treasure Trove of Subtitled Movies and TV Shows


If you are looking for movies, TV shows or music videos with subtitles to learn a language you really need to check out Viki.

Viki is a video portal, launched in 2010 that has attracted a huge community working on crowdsourced subtitles for all kinds of videos in over 150 languages. Up to now the Viki community has translated nearly 200 million words for subtitles of Spanish Tele Novelas, Japanese Animes, Bollywood movies, South Korean music videos and more.

As we recently pointed out immersion is one of the key factors in learning a foreign language. But finding genuine and authentic content in your target language that is also legally uploaded to the Internet can be a hassle. Especially, if you are looking for languages that are not “mainstream” like English, French or Spanish.

Viki solves this problem as all of the content on the platform is officially licensed by the rights owners and Viki also has syndication deals with other video platforms such as Yahoo!, Hulu and Netflix. In return those partners get access to the crowdsourced subtitles, enabling them to reach a bigger audience worldwide.

Besides being a great discovery platform for video content from around the globe, Viki is also a great tool to help you to learn your target language. Just follow Kirsten’s tip for effectively learning a language with subtitles.

Let’s say you are learning Korean. There is a great selection of South Korean TV series on Viki. Pick one that seems interesting to you and choose an episode to watch. Below you see an example video of a South Korean TV series called 판다양과 고슴도치 (Panda and Hedgehog).

In the video player you have the possibility to select subtitles in different languages. Depending on how many community members are working on a series there will be most likely English and the native language available, so in our example Korean.

Other than on YouTube, you can choose to display two subtitles at once if you think that is helpful to you. Simply click on the menu in the lower left of the player and pick the languages you want to display. But as Kirsten pointed out in her post it is best to listen to the people talking and have the subtitles in Korean as a backup in case you need to verify something you did not understand. In this case you simply choose to turn one of the two subtitles off.

Last but not least you should of course join the community and help translate content in your native language or a foreign language you are already fluent in.

All you need to do is either sign up with an email of connect via Facebook to Viki. Then you choose the language(s) you can write subtitles in and you are ready to go. In the show browser you will see a yellow sign that shows in how many languages a video is available. If you hover over it you’ll get detailed information of how much of each language has already been edited. If your language is not yet provided or at a low percentage you should contact the so called “Channel Staff” and ask if it is OK that you participate.

As soon as you are invited to participate you can open the subtitle editor on the video page. Most videos will already be segmented, so all you need to do is to add your subtitle in the matching segment.

This participation does not only help other community members on the platform to learn your language but it also keeps the Viki platform free for anyone to use as Viki can sell those subtitles to premium partners like the BBC, Universal, MSN and others.