How to Watch Chinese Movies With English Subtitles

By Kristy Robinson

Updated September 22, 2017

Watch a chinese movie with subtitles in your language.
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China joined the film industry in the early 1900s after American film makers continually portrayed the country as a fantasy land. Originally Chinese movies portrayed dissatisfaction with government and real life situations. Modern Chinese cinema includes artistic, formal and action movies as found in American cinema. Subtitles, translations of the spoken words of a movie, are available in most languages including English, Hindi, German and French and are useful in following along with the plot of Chinese movies.

Rent, purchase or download a non-copyright protected a Chinese film. When downloading, ensure that subtitles are available for the movie. Some low budget documentaries or student level films may not include subtitles. There will be an indication in the movie's description indicating the languages that subtitles are available in for that particular copy of the movie. Rental and purchased movies should include the languages on the back of the movie cover.

Place the movie into your DVD, Blu-ray or other movie player or open the movie on the computer. Wait for the disk or movie file to be read and the movie should automatically start to play.

Wait for the menu to display. If the actual movie starts playing press pause then the “Menu” button.

Click “Options” then “Subtitles.” If opening the file on a computer click on the “Audio” link across the top of the screen to see the subtitles option.

Highlight and click the language that you want subtitles displayed in. There may only be English available or several language options displayed on the screen. The arrow buttons on the DVD remote will allow you to scroll to the language of your choice. For computers, drag the mouse pointer to the language of your choosing and click the left mouse button to select.

Click “Play” to start or restart the movie. The subtitles will display once the characters in the movie begin speaking. In some cases, background music is also translated and included in the subtitles. This will help you understand any foreshadowing that was intended by the songs.

Read the subtitles as the movie plays. If a word comes on the screen that you do not understand, consider that it is likely a name of the character and do not let it distract you from the movie.