Translating Netflix Shows

Maybe this is common knowledge to others, but I came up with a workflow for translating the subtitles in Netflix that feels like a breakthrough for me.

For context, I’m level 11 Wanikani and working on N5 grammar, so any show I choose, I’m still going to be awash in unfamiliar vocab and grammar.

The trick is this: for each screen of Japanese subtitles, I pause the show, take a screenshot with the phone buttons, and then feed that screenshot to the Google Translate app. The results:

I get copy/paste-able text that I can use to look up meanings, I get a printout of the pronunciation, and I can save each “slide” of translation as a saved translation in Google Translate for later reference.

Once I’ve done the work to look up all the unfamiliar Vocab and grammar for an episode, I can rewatch from a standpoint of actually knowing what’s being said, and start focusing on listening comprehension. And the “slides” are always there as a reference at that point.

Hopefully this is helpful for those like me. I kept feeling thwarted in my efforts to learn from shows, because I couldn’t pronounce the kanji in the subtitles and didn’t have the time to use a printed kanji dictionary to look them up. This finally broke me through that barrier so that I can translate much faster!


It’s definitely not a bad flow, and if you are watching on your tv, this might indeed be the easiest option. But depending on how you watch there are nice options to automate this. There’s either Language reactor (the former Language Learning with Netflix) or what I personally use, the Migaku browser add-on. As I’ve said, depends on your flow, but might be of some help :wink:

Either way, great tips ^^


For something a little simpler, if you’re on PC you can download the Chrome extensions called Subadub. It makes Netflix subtitles selectable, meaning you can then copy and paste them wherever you want. There’s also an option to just straight up download the subtitles. Really useful for sentence mining as well!


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