Sometimes the barrier for language learners watching native level content is the fact that we may not know what is being said. However, the free Dualsub Chrome extension or Firefox addon helps native level content on YouTube be comprehensible from day 1.
What does Dualsub do?
Basically, as long as a YouTube video has at least one subtitle option on it, Dualsub allows you to enable double subtitles on YouTube videos that you watch on a desktop or a laptop. Unfortunately, there is no mobile version of Dualsub to my knowledge. Dualsub can automatically translate the original subtitle file into over 100+ other languages. When you can see Spanish and English on the screen at the same time while watching YouTube videos, it helps you to understand what is being said–even if you don’t know a lot of words in Spanish.
Can beginners in Spanish benefit from using double subtitles?
Yes! I know a common frustration for language learning beginners is that native Spanish speakers speak too fast. I personally don’t recommend slowing down the speech of YouTube videos because that doesn’t help one learn Spanish in a real world context. However, in addition to using double subtitles, you can use these keyboard shortcuts while watching YouTube videos on a laptop/desktop, which can help people get the most benefit from the double subtitles even if this is their first day learning a new language.
YouTube Keyboard shortcuts
a. Go back 5 seconds – press the left arrow
b. Go back 10 seconds – press the J key
c. Go forward 5 seconds – press the right arrow
d. Go forward 10 seconds – press the L key
e. Pause/play a video – press the space bar
I experimented with using Dualsub to help me understand a little bit of a German YouTube video. Since I don’t know German, using Dualsub in combination with these keyboard short was extremely useful. I especially like using the left arrow to go back 5 seconds. I was able to digest German in tiny bits, but then I could compare the English subtitles to the German subtitles to understand a whole lot more clearly what was being said.
I can have double subtitles on YouTube with Firefox, too, right?
Like I said, Dualsub works on both Chrome and Firefox. Here’s a short video of me showing how to use Dualsub on Firefox:
I wish I knew about double subtitles at least 2 years ago
When I started seriously watching YouTube videos to help me learn Spanish in the beginning of 2018, I was only able to watch them with Spanish subtitles because I didn’t know about any type of program to allow me to have double subtitles on YouTube. I think at that time, double subtitles would’ve been very helpful for me. In fact, I wish I knew about double subtitles before 2018 because one reason I didn’t really watch a lot of Spanish videos was because I didn’t know what people were saying. Probably for 95-100% of the time now, I don’t watch Spanish YouTube videos with any subtitles, but it was a transition, and God has helped me understand a lot more Spanish as I’ve spent more time with it.
Sometimes we need a transition to help us get to the point of watching native level content in Spanish; I think the Dualsub Chrome extension or the Firefox addon is a powerful language learning tech tool to help with that transition.
I hope this helps!
You might like other helpful resources to help you with Spanish here.
My name is Franklin, and I seek to inspire and motivate you to complete your first 1,000 hours of your language learning marathon with an out of the box mentality. Check out my resources page for a list of resources that can help you in your language learning journey.