Feature Request: Import external subtitle file

Would LLN support external subtitle file in the future? Because sometimes there’s no target language available and also machine translation is not ideal. There’s lots of subtitle group at least in China are doing good-quality translation and share subtitles for free.

And considering the potential time sync problems with the external title, a adjust function may also needed.

Thanks.

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Where are you finding Chinese subtitle files (and media)? That sounds useful.

The authors of this extension previously had another that was for normal movie and subtitle files. Don’t recall the name but you can find it with some google-fu.

These are the most common ones I think:
http://subhd.com/
https://assrt.net/

Please notice, this subtitle sharing is kind of in the gray area regarding law because of right of translation. Use with cautious.

Hey, the idea is interesting. Could you help me understand the use case? It’s for movies on Netflix that don’t have Chinese subtitles? Is it common to watch Netflix in China, I thought it was blocked? I know there are ways to watch Netflix in China, but, maybe not easy. Or, viewers in Taiwan? My thoughts that Netflix is quite aware of which countries are watching their shows, and creates translations in those languages.

  1. Netflix in China
    Although many websites are blocked in China, as you mentioned, people still get their ways to do what they want, e.g., via VPNs. For me, I’m currently in Europe, so not a problem. :slight_smile:

  2. Chinese subtitle availability
    I do find many series/movies that do not provide simplified Chinese (used in mainland China) and traditional Chinese (used in Taiwan / HK / Macau). The Big Bang Theory is an example, which is also the case where machine translation does not perform well due to lots of terminologies and American slangs. Many new shows and movies have the support as far as I can see.

@David_Wilkinson

Hi!

I’m having the same problem, living currently in Japan and trying to use the extension to help me learn the language. In Netflix Japan’s library, pretty much no content that’s originally in Japanese has subtitles in English, so it’d be awesome if we were able to load any of the readily available external subtitles in English into a LanguageLearningWithNetflix session.

Let me know if you guys need beta testers! \o/

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I also would like to suggest supporting external subtitle loading. Or even better, create and load from your own database of subtitle files from the web. It’s pretty unfortunate that so much of the anime on Netflix doesn’t have Japanese subtitles. Or do you have any connection with Netflix to encourage them to provide native language subtitles to match the audio?

Can we get a comment from the devs on this? I love LLN, but this is a huge missing feature. Netflix USA has EN subs only for many anime shows, and Netflix Japan has JP subs only. Exporting subs from one and being able to import in another region would greatly expand the selection of watchable shows.

I’m a developer and would be willing to help out on this feature. I can see that LLN is parsing subs for display already, so import/export as json should be trivial.

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For anyone still checking here, I’ve created a script to upload subtitles. Post here: NetflixSubLoader: Import external subtitles

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I am watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood in the US region. This show has different languages for subtitles except for Japanese. Thus, I downloaded the Japanese subtitles and want to use it with LLWN.

Also this show is not available on Netflix Japan. Typically, when I switch to a Japanese VPN, I can continue to watch the show and Japanese sub will become available.

For other readers, I am using an alternative solution named Migaku Browser Extension, which is currently in private beta. It supports loading external sub, parse Japanese text, automatically export to Anki.

However, since it’s still in beta, it’s still quite buggy and slow. So if subtitles are available, I still prefer to use LLWN.

Another use case is learning Japanese.

When watching Japanese videos on Netflix with a VPN, often:

  • The videos often have only Japanese subs in Japan
  • The videos have everything except Japanese subs outside of Japan
    Meaning even with a VPN, it is not possible to have dual subs at the moment.

I’m sure such a feature would also save a lot of people from buying VPNs to get the subs they need for LLN to work as well, since the subs can be retrieved from elsewhere.

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@jspt256 Do you have an example link to a show where you get this?

@AntonOfTheWoods
Example shows I found include:

  • Toradora
  • Seven Deadly Sins
  • Pop Team Epic
  • One Piece

It applies to a lot of anime, if not most

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@jspt256 , there are a couple of ways to solve this and we are actively discussing how best to deal with it. Different language-region combos have different constraints, and we are trying to see just how widespread the problem is (so mainly old Japanese stuff or much more widespread).

So I went and actually did some research this time, and it seems I was wrong before. This problem does apply to a lot of the anime that specifically I am interested in, but there are a lot of titles that don’t present with this issue. Looking at the all the anime I could find on Netflix that I had previously heard of, I split them into four categories:
(I’m sure I missed quite a few, but it should be enough to make my point.)

A: Both Japanese and English available in same location (no VPN required)

  • BAKI
  • BEASTARS
  • The Irregular at Magic High School
  • The Way of the Househusband
  • Kakegurui
  • Violet Evergarden
  • High-Rise Invasion
  • A Whisker Away
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • BNA
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • Ponyo
  • Angel Beats
  • Tokyo Ghoul
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Teasing Master Takagi-san
  • Spirited Away
  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K
  • Dorohedoro
  • The Great Pretender
  • Little Witch Academia
  • Flavors of Youth

B: Both Japanese and English available in same location (requires VPN)

  • Toradora (India/Japan)
  • A Silent Voice (Japan)
  • Sword Art Online (Japan)
  • Steins;Gate (Japan)
  • The Garden of Words (India/Malaysia/Philippines/Singapore)

C: Japanese and English not available in same location

  • Haikyuu
  • Seven Deadly Sins
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
  • Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma
  • Attack on Titan
  • Monthly Girls’ Nozaki Kun
  • Erased
  • Your Lie in April
  • Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
  • Asterisk War
  • One Piece
  • No Game No Life
  • Pop Team Epic
  • March Comes In like a Lion

D: Japanese subtitles unavailable (in any location)

  • Naruto
  • Naruto Shippuden
  • Re: Starting life in another world from zero
  • Parasyte: The Maxim
  • Death Note
  • Blue Exorcist
  • Your Name
  • Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions
  • One Punch Man
  • Black Butler
  • Akame ga Kill!

(I got my information from uNoGS.com, but made sure to test a fair few of them to be sure it was right. For reference, I live in the UK.)
So there is actually a large amount of anime that can be viewed with English and Japanese subs without extra tools like VPNs (categorty A), which is great! Thanks for prompting me to investigate.
With a VPN, there are a handful more titles that can be viewed with dual subtitles (category B).

However, there are a fair number of (fairly popular) titles that cannot be viewed with dual subs, either because of the issue I mentioned previously (category C) or because Japanese subs are unavailable at all (category D). I think it is unfortunate to not be able to learn with these titles.

Being able to import subtitle files would solve the issue with titles in categories C and D. I checked and was able to find subtitles for all except one of the titles from C and D on kitsunekko.net.

Also, since scrubbing back to hear a line you missed while on a VPN can be really slow (at least for my VPN), I think having the option to add subtitle files would probably be much nicer than using a VPN in many cases (which would apply to titles in category B). Extensions for adding subtitle files exist out there (e.g. +Subs), but they don’t integrate well with LLN. In the past I have used +Sub with LLN for titles in category B (because while it leaves quite a lot to be desired, my VPN was being far too slow).

May I ask what the situation is with other languages? What constraints do they have? And what solutions were you considering?

The main question we are struggling with is - why does Netflix not provide these? It would seem very likely to be a licencing issue, and we have to be very careful with these issues. User-provided subs gets around that but adds code that we have to maintain, and means other features have to wait. If it is mainly for certain pre-200X Japanese anime and that is an issue for only a few people, that is the typical kind of code-bloat that slows down overall development a lot. Life is about prioritising!

I have noticed a few older Mainland China movies only have Traditional character streams in Hong Kong. However, for that we can just convert to Simplified very easily on the client, without Netflix caring. Digging into how widespread this is will take quite a lot of time.

Also, the overwhelming majority of users of LLN are learning English, and this is typically not an issue for English at all, so those learners are much better served by other functionality, for example being able to have proper subs for an English dub of a Japanese anime.

We obviously want to do everything but sometimes doing stuff takes a while. Even properly onboarding a new developer can take several weeks before they can be productive…

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It’s really interesting to know that the majority of LLN users are learning English!

I had assumed the legal side wouldn’t be an issue since LLN wouldn’t provide or endorse the use of any specific subtitle files, but I don’t know anything about this, and I understand why caution is important.

With the anime, it doesn’t seem to be a matter of old/new. Taking examples from my list above, Food Wars was released in 2015 (latest season released in 2020), yet dual subs are not available in any one location. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (which I believe is pre-2000s) does offer dual subs without a VPN. (There are plenty of other examples to choose from.)

But I know that wasn’t really your point. From what I understand, it’s a question of who the affected LLN users are, how widespread the problem is now, and how likely it is to be a problem in the future.

It’s enough of a problem to affect me, and probably other Japanese learners, though I know that doesn’t mean much. We probably represent a very small proportion of users. It would be interesting to know how much it affects users studying other non-English languages.

I speculate that it’s likely that it’ll be an ongoing problem for non-English subs. The demand for English subtitles is generally going to be high enough for Netflix to consistently make sure they’re available, but I’m not convinced that’s true of non-English subtitles. LLN relies on the right subtitles being available, and I think there is a certain appeal to LLN not having to rely on Netflix to provide those subtitles. I wonder if English is the most popular target language for LLN users in part because it’s harder to use LLN to learn other languages (though I’m sure that the biggest factor is just interest in English). I think it would be amazing if LLN could be used to learn any language, so long as subtitles in that language exist somewhere on the internet. Someone could, for example, study Korean by watching Marvel films (assuming they find the subs).

That said, everything in that last paragraph was just a guess. I understand more needs to be known before deciding to implement anything, and that there are many other things the developers could be doing with their time. For my use case, LLN is already possibly the best tool around for language learning, and I’m very grateful to be able to use it free of charge. This feature is the only thing I feel is obviously missing, but I’m sure other people feel the same way about other features.

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