39. Subtitles in Videos

This is a video with advice on how to use videos with transcripts to improve your English.

You can  watch the video on YouTube here:


This video has subtitles – you can listen to me and read at the same time.

That makes it nice and easy for you, doesn’t it?

However, I don’t think it’s a good idea to watch videos with subtitles every time.

There are no subtitles in my recent videos.

This probably makes it difficult for you to understand everything the native speakers say in their interviews.

But, I believe it is better for your English to survive without subtitles.

There are no subtitles when you talk to people in real life, right?

So it is better to practise your listening without relying on subtitles.

When you watch a video with subtitles (like now), you are not really listening like normal. You’re reading too.

If you always do that, you will find it difficult when you actually talk to people in English.

So, when you watch the video interviews on this site, don’t worry if you don’t understand everything.

If you want to understand every word in the video interviews, you can. You don’t need subtitles.

Here’s how:

1. Watch a video with interviews in it (e.g. London Video Interviews Pt.1)

Try to understand as much as possible, but don’t worry if you can’t understand everything.

These are native speakers, talking naturally, so it might be difficult.

2. Then, find the transcript to the video by going to http://teacherluke.podomatic.com

It’s a good idea to print the transcript if you can. You could highlight the text and then paste it into a Word document, then print it.

3. Next, read the transcript and listen to the video at the same time.

Underline words or phrases that you don’t understand.

Think about differences in the words in the transcript, and the way the speakers say them in the interview.

4. After that, study the words / phrases that you don’t understand.

Do this with a dictionary, or by googling the words.

Google is good because you can find lots of examples of a new word being used in other situations.

Remember that some phrases may be idiomatic – so you might have to guess what they mean.

Use your intelligence! Be a ‘text detective’.

5. After you’ve studied the transcripts, watch/listen to the interviews again but without the transcript.

Watch the speakers’ mouths when they speak and think about how they pronounce the words and sentences.

Now, you should be able to understand the interviews completely, at the same level as a native speaker.

6. Read the transcript out loud.

Actually say the words, and try to copy the way they are pronounced in the interviews.

Don’t just stop at listening and understanding – it’s really important to combine skills and convert listening comprehension and pronunciation awareness into speaking practice.

Have fun, but don’t make a fool of yourself by reading the sentences out loud in public!

7. Try to remember any words or phrases in the interviews which you think are useful.

8. Practise by recording yourself talking about good/bad things about your city, or about London.

Listen to the recording. Try not to be embarrassed by the sound of your own voice. This is natural. Just listen to yourself in order to get a better understanding of your speaking, so you can work on your weak points.

Don’t forget to feel good about what you do well too.

This is a much longer process than just watching a video with subtitles, but I think you will agree that in the long run it is much better for your English.

It is much better to learn to listen by actually listening and looking at the speaker’s face, not by reading subtitles.

Also, if you follow the steps above you can train yourself to listen well and learn about vocabulary, pronunciation and speaking too.

That’s it!

Enjoy the videos…

Bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye bye!