Do you watch Netflix on a regular basis?
Ever binge-watch an entire season (or three) of your favorite series?
Do you sometimes feel guilty that you’re using up valuable time that could be focused on learning Spanish?
Well, you needn’t worry any longer! Those evenings spent curled up on the sofa watching Netflix can be transformed into extremely effective Spanish study sessions. All you need to do is watch Netflix shows and movies with the Spanish subtitles on.
If you’re not quite convinced that a night in with your feet up could be a real way to learn Spanish (or if you just need to be armed with excuses when others ask) then check out the following reasons why using Spanish subtitles on Netflix is a great way to bring your Spanish up to the next level.
How Watching Netflix with Subtitles Can Boost Your Spanish
Improve your Spanish vocabulary
As we all know, movies and TV shows are filled with phrases and one-liners that are common in everyday conversation, as well (unless you happen to be watching a period drama like “Downton Abbey” or “Shakespeare in Love,” of course).
By simply throwing on some Spanish subtitles, you could be picking up on new phrases, as well as reviewing vocabulary you’ve already learned.
Take, for instance, the many gems we’ve caught in movies and TV shows that might just come in handy for real-life situations:
1. Showing your romantic side:
“Te quiero. Lo supe apenas te conocí.”
(“I love you. I knew it the minute I met you”)
Movie: “Silver Linings Playbook”
“Y un beso?”
(“And a kiss?”)
Movie: “Can’t Buy Me Love”
Be careful not to go overboard on the rom-coms or you might end up scaring someone away!
2. Sharing an encouraging word or two:
(“We are survivors.”)
“Tómese su tiempo.”
(“Take your time.”)
Movie: “The King’s Speech”
3. Making light of a situation:
“Preocúpate de como mantener tus cejas detrás de las rejas”
(“You need to worry about how you’re going to maintain your eyebrows behind bars.”)
TV Show: “Orange Is the New Black”
“Ojala pudiera convencerte de no volver a hacer esta cara.”
(“I wonder how I can talk you out of not making that face again.”)
TV Show: “Arrested Development”
Nail your Spanish pronunciation
You may find that there are certain words in Spanish that just don’t roll off the tongue very easily, or sound nothing like how a local would say them when they come out of your mouth.
However, like anything else, the best way to learn something is to just do it. In other words, through practice.
And so, when watching your movie or TV show on Netflix, have a go at saying words out loud as the subtitles run across the screen. (Of course, try not to disturb anyone else’s viewing in the process!)
By doing this, you’ll not only be drilling Spanish words into your head, but you’ll also be gaining confidence in actually saying them out loud. Who knows, after a few movies you might well be ready to take on the Spanish-speaking world and mingle with the locals, thanks to all your newfound phrases.
Learn Spanish quicker
It’s been said that employing visual aids is often the best method for learning. After all, they say a picture is worth a thousand words! By adding a visual and auditory element to your learning, you’ll be reinforcing what you learn and making it more memorable, potentially speeding up the learning process.
Plus, you’ll be enjoying the process, which will make you want to study more often!
Improve your listening skills
Watching Netflix shows with Spanish subtitles will help you hone your listening skills. You’ll always know exactly what you heard spoken since it’ll be written right there for you!
Study with content you already know
The brilliant thing about Netflix is that it has many shows available in many languages. This means that you can use old favorites to learn a new language!
Check if any of your favorite Netflix hits have Spanish subtitles or audio. Try switching things up and watching in English with Spanish subtitles, or vice versa. Or, why not both!?
But, I must warn you, it’s easy to become reliant on English subtitles. So, try watching with Spanish subtitles whenever possible!
Have fun with your learning
Who says you can’t have fun when learning Spanish? After all that reading, listening, writing (and rewriting no doubt), a bit of lighthearted entertainment might just be what you need to bring the joy of learning back again.
You could even make Netflix a treat after completing one of those more challenging Spanish learning tasks, such as learning a new irregular verb or getting through a particular tense.
Just think, a good movie and some popcorn could be waiting for you after a few hours of learning the past tense of ir or ver, or when you’ve finally mastered the preterite.
To help get you started, why don’t you take some inspiration from the FluentU Spanish YouTube channel?
You’ll find heaps of educational content breakdowns, learning tips and all the marvelous ways you can learn Spanish from real-world content. The videos use specially chosen clips from movies and other content to highlight Spanish learning lessons and insights to help you speak like a native.
If classic movies are more your thing, then check out the clip below. In addition, you’ll also learn how to practice translation of English films with Spanish dub and subtitles!
Check out the channel for more fun ways to learn through videos and subtitles, and subscribe so you don’t miss any new content in the future!
Learn Spanish on Netflix Using Subtitles with 3 Easy Steps and 6 Superb Shows
3 Subtitle-powered Steps to Turn Netflix Binges into Spanish Learning Sessions
So now that we’ve gone through all the reasons why using Spanish subtitles on Netflix is a no-brainer, here are a few simple steps to set it all up!
1. Choose Your Movie or TV Show
First things first, you’ll want to check out the list of viewing material that’s available with Spanish subtitles on Netflix.
You’ll be happy to know that there’s a vast selection of films and TV shows on Netflix with Spanish subtitles. These options include both original Spanish film and TV content as well as content in English and other languages. This means that there’s a huge amount of options for you to choose from!
How to find Netflix movies with Spanish subtitles
There’s nothing worse than finding a great series or movie and hopping into bed with a warm cup of tea to learn a bit of Spanish vocab, only to find the series or film doesn’t have Spanish subtitles!
To avoid this, we’re going to explore a few different ways to discover the perfect series with Spanish subtitles.
The first is to use the Netflix search function to filter results by subtitles. Yes, you can actually do that—and it saves a lot of headaches! You can then explore the list for a specific series you had in mind or click the “suggestions for you” filter and put your faith in the Netflix algorithm.
Another easy way to narrow down the Netflix options is to scroll through an online list outside of Netflix. For example, this list from the website Finder is regularly updated and, unlike the Netflix search filter, it allows you to search by genre or specific keywords.
2. Add Subtitles (and Audio)
Once you’ve chosen something to watch and clicked the “play” button, the next step is to choose your subtitles.
At this point, you can also make decisions regarding audio. Do you want to watch a movie with English audio and Spanish subtitles? Are you trying to watch your favorite British show with Spanish audio and English subtitles? Mix and match the subtitles and audio to help you achieve your learning goals!
Follow the steps outlined below to change the subtitles language to Spanish, for a Netflix session full of fun and learning.
How to turn on Spanish subtitles on Netflix
Switching on subtitles with your Netflix account is a pretty straightforward affair!
Simply hover over the icon that looks like a speech bubble, located on the bottom right-hand side of the black bar, then click on “Spanish.” You can also change the audio language from here.
Here’s an example (yes, you’ll be excited to know that the beloved “Lupin” comes with Spanish subtitles and audio!):
Then, you can expand the screen, hit play and let the learning (and entertainment) begin!
If you’re having issues with this, then no worries: The Netflix Help Center can help you troubleshoot subtitle-related woes.
3. Customize Your Subtitles
Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to customize your subtitles so they have your preferred color, font, size and background—pretty cool, huh? Simply navigate to the Netflix “subtitle appearance” page and make any changes you’d like.
Aside from giving the subtitles a personal flair, changing their appearance will allow you to make them more visible to you. If you’re struggling to read the Spanish words quickly as they run across the screen, you can make them pop by highlighting them in black, for instance. Play around with the settings to find what works best for you.
And that’s it! There’s nothing left to do except sit back with your favorite snacks and watch your Spanish-flavored favorites on Netflix. Enjoy!
That being said, there is one more step for serious language learners.
Bonus: Take It to the Next Level with FluentU
If you’ve never read subtitles in Spanish while listening before, give it a try with FluentU’s Spanish video clips!
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos topics, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re studying with the same video.
Consider it your “warm-up,” if you will, for all the Spanish Netflix streaming to come.
Watching a Spanish series can be great, but to take it to the next level and extract as much value as possible, you’ll have to become an active participant in the show. Rather than passively watching a video, FluentU unlocks the learning potential of Spanish video content and flips it into an active lesson with fun quizzes, flashcards and more.
That’s why I found the FluentU program invaluable in my Spanish learning, especially when it came to learning vocabulary with video content.
Once in a while, I’d pause a video and slide my mouse over a word for a definition and have what I described as an “aha moment”: “Aha! So that’s how to use that verb in that context.”
These eureka moments were quite common, especially when I was starting to put the language together in my mind.
Like Netflix, FluentU is available with a subscription. But don’t forget that you can try it out with a free trial before you commit!
6 Neat Netflix Shows with Spanish Audio and Subtitles
Hungry for more?
Below, you’ll find some of the best Netflix shows that come with Spanish audio and subtitles to give your Spanish the boost it needs.
Some are popular English series that would be great for beginners who may have seen the series in English before. Others are in Spanish with Spanish subtitles, great for more advanced learners. And there’s even one with a bit of both English and Spanish, making it perfect for an intermediate learner.
The final show on the list is also a little out of the box but totally worth it, so be sure to check it out!
1. “Stranger Things” (English with Spanish subtitles and audio)
This edgy sci-fi series was a huge success for the streaming giant Netflix and the Duffer brothers (its writers). It follows a group of pre-teen school friends as they battle supernatural forces invading their town and wreaking havoc on the very fabric of the universe.
It’s a trippy ride with strobe-like visuals and a very 80s soundtrack, which gives it an authentic retro feel without being cheesy.
I love it for Spanish learning because the dubbing is very professionally done and, since the lead characters are children, the vocabulary is often manageable for beginners. Plus, due to its popularity, there are heaps of opportunities to follow up the learning and consolidate the language with Spanish articles, discussion boards and blogs.
The story behind the dubbing of the program is quite fascinating and lots of fun, as well. If you’ve watched the series in English already, it’s certainly worth giving it another go in Spanish to see how they subtitled some of the unique words that pop up in the show.
2. “Peaky Blinders” (English with Spanish subtitles and audio)
Set in a post-WWI Birmingham, “Peaky Blinders” follows the rise of Thomas Shelby and his family as they navigate the underworld of business and crime.
The highlights of this series are the fantastic Birmingham accents and incredible acting performances. Because of this, I’d recommend this show for a beginner who wants to dip their feet into the world of Spanish subtitles while still watching the series in the original English audio.
However, you also have the option to pop on the Spanish dub if you’re after a double-dose of Spanish input.
You will learn Spanish vocabulary with Netflix, by order of the Peaky Blinders!
3. “Narcos” (English and Spanish with Spanish subtitles and audio)
If you want to learn Spanish with subtitles, “Narcos” may well your best starting place! The series follows the story of infamous drug smuggler and cartel leader Pablo Escobar as he builds an empire of wealth and influence.
Although the series is predominantly in English, the Spanish characters also speak Colombian Spanish throughout the show. Plus, you can switch on Spanish audio and subtitles for the entire series for that extra input if you’re a more advanced learner.
In fact, the Brazillian actor Wagner Moura, who played Pablo Escobar, actually learned Spanish for the role. If that doesn’t give you a little bit of learning inspiration, I don’t know what will!
Heads up that the series contains heaps of Colombian slang and lots of naughty words. They are drug lords and gangsters, after all.
4. “La casa de papel” (Spanish original)
Are you ready to pull off the biggest bank heist in Spanish history? To stick it to the man in the ultimate anti-establishment act? To learn Spanish with an authentic Spanish series? Excellent!
It wouldn’t be a list of Spanish Netflix shows for language learners without a mention of “La casa de papel.” This crime drama series, known in English as “Money Heist,” is about a group of, shall we say, “talented” people brought together by a criminal mastermind known as “The Professor.” Their plan? To pull off the ridiculously risky job of using the Royal Mint of Spain as their own personal money printer.
The show has garnered a massive and dedicated following across the globe. We’re talking English and Spanish speakers alike!
Working as a teacher in Spain, I’m always blown away by all the seemingly endless “La casa de papel” merchandise that my students bring into class. It’s true that the series has seriously taken the world by storm.
This show is a fantastic choice for learning Spanish for a few different reasons. Firstly, the Spanish is contemporary and includes a nice little injection of slang and humor. Secondly, the huge following means you’ll be able to enjoy additional resources such as online blogs, social media accounts and YouTube breakdowns. Finally, it’s a downright awesome, creative and super addictive series.
You’ll also be hard-pressed to find a Spanish speaker who hasn’t watched the series, making it the perfect conversation starter or discussion topic!
5. “Paquita Salas” (Spanish original)
Funny, awkward, life-affirming and ultimately uplifting, “Paquita Salas” is my favorite Spanish comedy series. The titular character was a huge talent agent in 1990s Spain, but an outdated style and the loss of her biggest client cause her career (and life) to come crashing down around her.
Watch Paquita desperately try to find new actors to represent, and have some laughs along the way. It’s also a terrific way to practice Spanish and learn a little bit more about Spanish culture (especially Spanish showbiz)!
The characters in the show have a lot of everyday conversations, including plenty of slang and a bit of naughty language. Sometimes I pause the series just to write down some of the incredibly creative (and rude) insults that are often thrown about.
For an intermediate-level learner, I’d recommend this series with Spanish subtitles as a solid choice to get accustomed to listening to fairly standard conversational Spanish.
For a beginner, I’d give it a go with English subtitles first as the speed can be a bit quick at times, especially when all the characters are together.
6. “headspace Guide to Meditation” (English with Spanish subtitles and audio)
Relax, take a breath and let your mind settle into Spanish learning mode.
Ok, stay with me on this one as I know what you’re thinking right now.
I’m a big believer in building a meditation habit and have found the headspace app and Netflix series incredibly helpful. I was using headspace fairly regularly when I was getting started on my Spanish learning journey.
Then one day, I thought to myself, why not switch the audio and subtitles to Spanish?
As a Spanish learner, it totally made sense. The speaking is super clear, the speed is manageable and I was practicing something that I love. Plus, the benefits of meditation, such as higher levels of concentration and focus on the present moment, tend to go hand in hand with language learning!
So, when Netflix teamed up with headspace to create the “headspace Guide to Meditation” I had to add it to the list of Netflix series to learn Spanish. With this series, you’ll learn some basic descriptive language plus some more advanced vocabulary to talk about the different components of meditation practice.
It’s certainly one to consider if you’re after something a bit more meaningful, or at least a break from the norm.
Plus, with the recently released “headspace Guide to Sleep” you can add a little bit of Spanish into your night schedule, as well!
When it comes to learning Spanish with subtitles, it really is up to you and how you like it. Whether you want to start a new Spanish series with English subtitles or go total immersion with a Spanish series with a Spanish dub, the choice is yours!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.