How to Learn Korean with Subtitles

By OptiLingo • 6 minute read

korean subtitles help you learn korean

Getting the Most Out Your Netflix K-Dramas

Korean films and TV shows are great language learning resources. They give you the chance to hear the correct Korean pronunciation. You can also see how everyday people speak. And you can even gain cultural insight. But to get the most out of your Korean language lessons and make your TV time even more beneficial, you need to use Korean subtitles effectively.

Mastering Korean with Netflix Subtitles

There’s a lot you can learn during your “Netflix language lessons”. For starters, you’re not just watching TV. In fact, with the right approach, you can turn your K-Drama binge-watching sessions into language-learning marathons that get you speaking like a local faster!

Here’s a list of the most important benefits of watching Korean videos with subtitles:

  • Reading: This may be obvious, but reading subtitles will enhance your overall Korean reading skills. Make sure you learn Hangul before you begin. It’s even more beneficial if you learn to read Hangul quickly.
  • Listening: As you’re reading the subtitles, you’ll anticipate what the actors will say. This gives you better listening skills that’ll be useful when you’re talking to Korean locals. 
  • Common phrases: Apart from the cultural insight, you’ll also hear how everyday people speak. These high-frequency words are the keys to fluency. Since 20% of vocabulary makes up 80% of daily speech, knowing these common expressions can give you a great advantage.
  • Translation: Once you understand the meaning of the plot, you’ll gain insight into how English and Korean relate to each other. Increased vocabulary also means you can translate better.
  • Pronunciation: Practicing your pronunciation with Korean subtitles is a great exercise. And listening to how actors say their lines is a great guide. But with Korean subtitles, you associate the sounds with the written words. That means building sentences will be even easier for you.

korean subtitles

Best Ways to Learn Korean with Subtitles

It turns out there are a lot of different ways to use subtitles to get the most out of your Korean lessons. And it’s not as straightforward as you’d think. These are the best ways to use subtitles to learn Korean:

1. Korean Videos with English subtitles

This helps you understand the plot. Once you do, you can go back and rewatch your Korean drama or film for purely the language practice. If you can link the sounds of Korean to the meaning, your listening skills can improve drastically.

2. English Movies with Korean subtitles

Although this option isn’t widely available, it can be a useful exercise. If you have access to Korean subtitles to English films or TV shows, we recommend you try this. Focus on the Korean words and which English word coincides with that. This will help you get a good grasp of Korean sentence structure. It also enforces your translation skills.

3. Korean Videos with Korean Subtitles

This is the most useful way to learn Korean with subtitles. You can associate the sounds of the language with the written words easily. We recommend this when you’ve reached an intermediate level, or when you’re watching a Korean drama or film you’re very familiar with. 

Psst! Did you know we have a language learning app?

  1. It teaches you useful words and phrases.
  2. Presented in a natural, everyday context.
  3. Spaced out over time, so you absorb your new language organically.
  4. It’s kind of like learning the words to your new favorite song!

You’re only one click away!


Where to Find Korean Videos with Subtitles

There are a number of great online resources and streaming services you can use. The most popular might be Netflix. The streaming giant features original Korean dramas, and they often have Korean subtitles for English films too.

Popular Korean streaming services will be your best bet for finding quality Korean dramas with quality subtitles. Asian Crush, DramaGo, and Viki are some of these platforms to name. 

Asian Crush features Korean dramas as well as films. The dramas have both English and Korean subtitles available, which is extremely useful. Viki has a wide variety of genres over 1300 pieces of content. A community of volunteers operates this service who are passionate about spreading knowledge of Korean culture. This website will help you get your Korean language knowledge to fluency in no time.

netflix has korean dramas with korean subtitles

4 Ways to Get the Most out of Korean Subtitles

 Watching Korean dramas and films is a form of immersion (as long as you do it the right way). You need to make sure that you’re focused during your Netflix language lessons so you can get the most out of the time you spend watching Korean shows and movies. If you’re using subtitles to substitute your language learning exercises, there are certain steps that will make the process even more beneficial.

1. Stop the Video

Make sure that you are stopping the video at certain intervals (preferably after every scene). And definitely pause your show if you’re having trouble understanding. Figure out what the characters are talking about and how they’re expressing themselves. You can always rewind to listen to the conversation again.

2. Speak Out Loud

Korean subtitles enhance your reading and listening skills. But to speak a language fluently, you have to speak. Don’t be embarrassed to repeat what the characters said out loud. Their pronunciation will be the best example. Try and copy how they say words. As silly as this feels feel, you’ll drastically improve your fluency.

3. Don’t Get Lost in the Subtitles

Korean subtitles can also limit your progress if you’re not careful. You need to view the Korean language as a communication tool. And see the other forms of communication that come with it. Facial expressions, body language, and hand gestures all help with conveying ideas and emotions. Pay attention to these, and don’t get lost reading the subtitles. 

4. Watch Out for Inaccurate Translations

Once you reach a more advanced level, you’ll start to notice inaccurately translated Korean subtitles. While it’s not a common phenomenon at all, it does happen sometimes. Be proud of yourself when you notice them. This is a clear sign of how far you’ve come in your Korean language learning.

Korean Subtitles Aren’t Enough to Reach Fluency

You can’t learn a language from just watching movies. As great as that would be, language learning is a much more complex task. Not to mention that you need a base knowledge of the language before you can even begin to understand videos. You need to be able to read Hangul, have a basic vocabulary, and be familiar with everyday grammar. And to get you to that level, OptiLingo is your best option.

At OptiLingo, we use scientifically-proven methods to teach Korean. By showing you high-frequency phrases and their meanings, you’ll know exactly how the locals speak. We also know that to speak a language fluently, you need to practice. With OptiLingo’s mobile app, you’ll learn to speak, not just type. Encouraging you with pronunciation guides and spaced repetition, we make sure you remember your lessons effectively.

Try OptiLingo today, and get closer to watching your favorite Korean dramas effortlessly!