6 Convincing Benefits of Using Subtitles

Why do we argue over using subtitles?

For most people, watching a movie with (closed) captioning is a matter of preference*. Ask the person beside you if they would watch a film with text in their mother tongue. The answer you will get is most likely going to be ‘no’. Why? Because words on the screen can be distracting, they make your eyes do more work than necessary, and have the potential to dampen the emotions being conveyed on screen.

For some, however, using subtitles isn’t really a choice. When everything sounds like an audible blur, a lot is taken away from the experience. Your experience. An example might be when the film is too loud – especially with overpowering music. Or when the surroundings are too loud. Or when you can’t hear as well as your companion, which isn’t the easiest thing to admit when trying to convince someone to switch the captioning on.

So the next time you find yourself in a situation where someone doesn’t want any subtitles on the screen, here are six convincing benefits to sway them in your favor:


1. Catch the Name of the Song 

Nowadays, movie subtitles have to abide by a set of minimum guidelines which include format and synchronization. Although the name of the song isn’t there yet, it’s a bonus when the song starts to play and you get to see the title of the song in the subtitles. That’s in-screen Shazam. Jackpot!


2. Sing Along with Lyrics

When you already know the song but you don’t know all the lyrics by heart, subtitles turn movie scenes into a sing-along. Who doesn’t love to sing along to their favorite soundtrack? Plus, reading the words off the screen helps you understand the meaning behind lyrics.


3. Understanding Characters like Bane

Lip-reading is one of the ways that helps understand what is being communicated. But for characters like Bane (as seen in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises), lip-reading just isn’t an option – given there’s a mask over his face. So nless you have some sort of superpower, subtitles are pretty essential.


4.Translate a Foreign Show

From Japanese Anime to French romance, subtitles allow us to understand and experience languages from all over the world. When we think of all the accents and local dialects in the US alone, even a native speaker can be thankful for a little extra help. If you’re familiar with a film’s original dialogue and it’s translations, you have the added benefit of comparing how these two different languages are conveyed on screen.


5. Foreign Character

It’s hard to think of a film or television series that doesn’t include an foreign speaking character. After all, it’s a global world and knowing what these characters are saying is sometimes essential to the plot. Subtitles not only break down language barriers, but also offer us the chance to learn new languages.


6. People who love talking during Movies

If you’re one of the ‘lucky’ people who gets to sit beside someone who just loves to ask questions or comment while watching TV, then subtitles are your friend! Because who wants to keep rewinding back to the scene they missed?


Have you experienced any other benefits of using subtitles?


*Most of the time, closed captioning and subtitles are interchanged with each other, as both provide text on the television screen. However, closed captioning can function as a substitute for sound, rather than a supportive feature.