How to get the most out of your Netflix subtitles

Stories are universal. They can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere. Who would have thought we’d become fans of the Dark from Germany, The Protector from Turkey, Crash Landing on You from Korea, or Money Heist from Spain. Or that series and films made in India, such as the Netflix original Sacred Games or licensed Telugu Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo. With subtitles — or what Oscar-winning Korean director Bong Joon Ho famously described as the “one-inch tall barrier” — viewers all around the world are able to discover and fall in love with stories that transcend language and geography.  

But who said they always have to be one inch tall? While you may be comfortable reading them small, it might be causing someone else at home to reach for their glasses. Did you know that, instead, they could just modify their subtitles — from size to font to colour and more? Here’s all you can do:

Change language: For most films and series, subtitles are available in multiple languages. The little speech bubble button at the bottom of your screen lets you browse through the available options and decide the language of the subtitle. What’s more? Once you have picked your preference — say Hindi subtitles — your Profile will remember the choice, and default to it the next time.  

How: Play a title >  Go to ‘audio & subtitles’ > Select the language of your choice from the available list

Change font: Don’t like the regular subtitle font? Your entertainment, your choice. Typewriter? You got it. All caps easier to read? Sure. It’s  possible to choose multiple available fonts to make your streaming experience more delightful.

How: Go to – Account > Profile & Parental Controls > Subtitle Appearance > Font

Change Font Size: Change the font size of the subtitles to increase readability, especially helpful for people whose TVs are far away from their couch, or for the elderly and those with prescription glasses. Remember, subtitle customisation is at a Profile level. So just because someone else at home likes big subtitles doesn’t mean you are forced to see shows that way on your Profile. 

How: Go to – Account > Profile & Parental Controls > Subtitle Appearance > Font Size

Change Font Colour: Add more colour to your life (or to your streaming experience) by changing the colour of the subtitles. For those who don’t like subtitles distracting from the visuals, you can even make the text semi-transparent.

How: Go to – Account > Profile & Parental Controls > Subtitle Appearance > Colour

Change Background: Play around with different background colours to create a solid background around the text that appears on screen to make readability even better.

How: Go to – Account > Profile & Parental Controls > Subtitle Appearance > Background

Add Shadow: Netflix also lets you add a drop shadow against the subtitles for better visibility. Choose from a few effects to help separate text from the background. You can also change the colour of the shadow or the outline.

How: Go to – Account > Profile & Parental Controls > Subtitle Appearance > Shadow

Choose Closed Caption: Closed Captions (CC) work like subtitles, but with the addition of descriptions of background noises, tracks playing in the background and or names of characters who may be speaking off-camera. These are specially designed for those hard of hearing; and therefore describes elements of the sound they might otherwise miss. 

How: Play a title >  Go to ‘audio & subtitles’ > Select ‘Audio Descriptions’

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