Subtitles are nothing short of essential for the deaf and the hearing impaired. If it weren’t for excellent subtitles, those who are hard at the hearing would not be able to enjoy movies and TV shows to the full extent. Fortunately, though, there has never been a time in the history of film or TV that subtitles were more widely accessible. Be it through easily available closed captions on live TV, prewritten subtitles in several languages on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc., decent subtitles are usually not too hard to find.
Some of you already are well aware, though, of the fact that subtitles are not always “decent.” In fact, sometimes they can be downright inaccurate. I know for a fact that I have seen far too many movies and shows in which the subtitle text is flat out wrong. The actor says one thing, the subtitle says another.
Not only are there tons of little things that subtitles and closed captions can get wrong – spelling, using the wrong homonym, little grammatical errors here and there – but it is unbearable when a subtitle is just not correct. This is 2020; it is unacceptable for the deaf and hearing-impaired community to be expected to watch what is essentially a different movie or show from the rest of us.
Therefore, finding the best subtitle downloading site is crucial. Hey, maybe you didn’t even know that subtitle sites existed before today. In fact, there are many of them – and they are not all created equal. Some, naturally, offer more subtitles than others. Some cater to a more diverse range of languages. Others have better quality subtitles and more accurate translations. How, then, can you be assured that you will be able to find the best subtitle site? Well, you came to the right place!
As passionate as I am about helping you find the best free movie and TV streaming sites and the best premium streaming services, I am equally passionate about helping you find the best subtitle sources, too. A lot goes into making a good subtitle. And a lot should go into making sure that you can access them. Therefore, the subtitle sites that I review are held to the highest possible standard.
Even if you are not hearing impaired, subtitles can make a huge difference when it comes to movie and TV viewing. There are, no doubt, moments when you don’t quite catch what was said … a subtitle lets you read along, so you don’t need to rewind to hear it again. Maybe an actor has a particularly thick accent that you are struggling to understand. Voila, a subtitle makes it crystal clear what is being said when you aren’t sure.
However, what is hands down the most important instance for hearing able people use subtitles is when there is no audio available in your language. Foreign films, as it were. These are often subtitled in English. But this leaves out so much of the rest of the world, who either do not know a lick of English or whose English is not good enough to be able to read along with a fast-paced movie. Subtitle websites, the good ones anyway, are like an online community of translators who put in work so that the whole world can fully enjoy entertainment, not just those privileged enough to know the right language.
Perhaps you are wondering in what case a subtitle download could actually help you, especially if you primarily stream your movies and TV shows via Netflix (which has its own subtitles built-in) … well, these files are probably going to be most beneficial to those of you who prefer to download your movies. Or stream your torrents. Other instances where you might need a subtitle file include having a movie or show that is equipped with the wrong language’s subtitle track.
But, far too often, when you download a movie, the file folder does not even include a subtitle file at all. By visiting one of the best subtitle websites, though, you can have a high-quality subtitle for your favorite movies in a matter of seconds. Then, it couldn’t be easier from there. Simply upload your subtitle file into your media player of choice – VLC is a free one that supports all codecs, file types, and subtitle files with no problems; I highly recommend it… but there are others.
Well, now that you have learned a bit more about subtitles and sites for downloading subtitles, I believe it is time to take a look at one of the internet’s largest communities of subtitle lovers, propagators, and translators. The site that we will be taking a look at today is known as Open Subtitles, and it has so much to offer. There is much to love about Open Subtitles and a lot to discuss, so let’s get right into it, shall we?
Unfortunately, we have to start this review on a relatively negative note. Design is not the strongest aspect of Open Subtitles. In fact, it might be this site’s Achille’s Heel. I don’t want to discourage you, though, from this site so early on – I truly do think that design flaws aside, it might be one of the most effective and useful subtitle sites on the web. So, let’s just get the biggest negative remarks out of the way first, I suppose.
The first thing that I noticed about Open Subtitles was the smallness of it. Of the text, I mean. It is very small, somewhat hard to read. The site, overall, is oriented in a way that almost makes it look as if your browser has zoomed out. It hasn’t. It’s just a design flaw. When you visit Open Subtitles, you will be greeted by a white and lime green theme, peppered in blue hyperlinks.
There are some links at the very top of the page to associated sites, such as Classic Movies, BRAVE, English Subtitles, and Release Log. Below that, you’ll find a site menu bar, a very sparse one compared to some other sites. Here, browse by clicking on either Search, Upload, Request, Forum, Blog, or Player (more on these features in a moment).
The search bar is simple but effective. Type in the movie or show that you are looking for, select your language from a dropdown menu to the right, and you are in business. You’ll have to look very closely for it, but there are also options for an advanced search and an Applet search as well. Keep scrolling down, and you will find a few boxes with subtitles featured in them, offering Featured, New, Monthly Top uploaders, Weekly Most Downloaded, Latest Forum Topics, Latest Blog Articles, Requested, and Latest Comments.
Content and Features
Open Subtitles has many features, making it easily one of the most organized and comprehensive subtitles websites out there. Firstly, this site is huge, offering 5,359,130 subtitles (at the time of this review … of course, this number will probably be even higher by the time you visit the site).
Open Subtitles is also working on a sleeker, more responsive site (which they link to) that is still a work in progress, Opensubtitles.com. You can also add their Chrome and Firefox extensions, making for more intuitive and streamlined subtitle searching and downloading.
Then, the site has a forum, which adds to the community aspect of this site in a great way. Here, users can discuss movies, translations, requests, the best subtitles, etc. Get to know likeminded people who are also passionate about translation and subtitling.
There is also a blog. It is not updated as frequently as you may hope (about a few times a year, it looks like), but the articles are fascinating and on topic, discussing things such as AI in subtitling, the Oscars, why subtitlers have one of the hardest jobs in TV, etc. Definitely some worthy reads in here.
Additionally, each subtitle comes with its own comments section, which is a great way for users to self-police the quality of content. If a subtitle is particularly bad, simply let others know in the comments section!
As you can see, there is a lot going on here. This is one of the few subtitle sites that I actually want to spend extended periods of time on!
Mobile and Desktop Experience
The mobile site, to be frank, could be much better. There are many ads. It is not entirely optimized for phones and tablets. Text is, again, tiny. But in a pinch, it is doable on your phone.
Pricing and Plans
The site offers a VIP version that gets rid of ads. Simply donate $15 and enjoy this VIP membership for life!