Subtitle Reader

So I was thinking, there are a few main problems (especially if you are a beginner) one runs into, when trying to supplement one's learning Chinese from movies (I'm sure there are more that I'm not aware of, however). Usually, you can't be sure know how good the subtitle translations are, if indeed the movie even has English subtitles. But then, say the English subtitles are reliable, it still might be hard to pair up what you hear in the movie with the English subtitles and make a flashcard (for either words or sentences) of what you don't understand. And especially because Chinese has so many homophones, it is usually very time consuming to try to either search English>Chinese and search for any words that make sense and sound like they did in the movie, or to try to search by pinyin, because if you get the tone wrong, you'll spend a lot of time sifting through words in search of the wrong thing. If you use Chinese subtitles, you have the advantage of knowing that the word you have is indeed the correct word by comparing the characters, but it's still not very easy to look up the words in the first place, and it's still rather time consuming. Probably the best thing would be to use both English and Chinese subtitles at the same time, so you can compare the two, but you'd still want to look up the words that you didn't know in a dictionary to make sure you got the pronunciation (in case you didn't hear it right, or it's hard to understand) and definition (in case the subtitles are not reliable) correct.

But I was thinking, how great would it be, if Pleco made a "Subtitles Reader". This way you wouldn't have to rely on bad English subtitles, or have to worry about mistaking the pronunciation of what someone in the movie said, or have to spend so much time looking up the characters.

Think about it. You could be watching a great movie, come across a word/some words you don't know, pause the movie, select the (Chinese) subtitles you don't understand, find the right definition that fits the situation, create a flashcard, and at the end of the movie, review all of the vocabulary that you didn't know. Then, however much longer, after you were confident that you knew all the vocabulary (or all of the vocabulary you wanted to know, anyways) you could re-watch the movie. Wouldn't that be rewarding?

It would probably be much easier to make it with videos that have the subtitles on a separate text file, but for the videos that have the subtitles inlaid (or not as a separate file that the movie player then "syncs" with the movie) maybe you could use the OCR software.

Anyways, just and idea...What do you think? Is this at all plausible?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
adam.hamilton said:
Anyways, just and idea...What do you think? Is this at all plausible?
A subtitle reader is certainly possible, in fact we've had quite a few requests for it in the past. The basic problem is that totally new features like this have to stay on the back burner for a while because we're so busy improving existing stuff - user interface overhaul on iOS, the almost-finished overhaul to our dictionary search system on both platforms, PDF support in OCR, EPUB support in the document reader, lots and lots of long-awaited improvements to flashcards... between that and the astonishingly rapid pace with which Google and Apple are rolling out new OS releases / hardware designs / etc that we have to deal with, we're really hard pressed to find the time to do something completely new like this.

With any luck, though, the big new batch of dictionaries we're about to launch will take our sales high enough into the stratosphere that we can finally afford to hire some new people, which would make it considerably easier to put resources towards promising new features like this.
 

MMarks

举人
But you can download subtitles files and read them on the Pleco reader. I even found the subtitles for that new series on food in China, A Bite of China (although the language is a bit heavy going - but the speed on the videos, e.g. on YouTube, is slow).
 

alex_hk90

状元
MMarks said:
But you can download subtitles files and read them on the Pleco reader. I even found the subtitles for that new series on food in China, A Bite of China (although the language is a bit heavy going - but the speed on the videos, e.g. on YouTube, is slow).
Which websites have you found subtitles for Chinese TV? They tend to be hard-coded into the video from what I've seen (which is nowhere near as useful as having it in text form).
 
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