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Using Chinese Subtitles to Help You Learn the Language

If you are struggling to learn Chinese using a language learning textbook, try watching videos with Chinese subtitles. Video is a powerful medium for language immersion. As your eyes go through the subtitles you’re reinforcing your reading and listening comprehension (and having fun!).

Learning Chinese does not have to be in a formal setting, I would suggest you to watch your video while enjoying some 小笼包 (steamed dumplings) and 豆浆 (soy milk) 😉

Alright, without further ado — here are my 5 favorite sites for watching Mandarin Chinese videos (with Chinese subtitles) online:


YouTube is a great tool for if you’re learning Chinese. Most videos these days provide closed captions, which means you can watch whatever you’re interested in and turn on Chinese subtitles (look for the “cc” button next to the video settings).

Recommended viewing: 中国合伙人2 
This is the story of an internet startup — where two programmers and an investor strive build a new company during the dot com boom. This movie has both English and Chinese subtitles for your convenience. You can watch the movie here.

YouKu 优酷

YouKu is a large video streaming site for Chinese TV shows and movies, including dramas, TV shows, and documentaries. I personally love this site as it has a wide range of movies available — even new ones. Unlike other similar sites, Youku has less restrictions which means you can watch many full-length movies.

Recommended viewing: 一生一世 
This movie is a romance starring famous actors Nicholas Tse and actress Gao Yuanyuan, 一生一世  revolves around a couple who spent their childhood and young adulthood together in Beijing — who then reconnect later in New York City.

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IQiyi 爱奇艺

IQiyi, aka the “Netfilx of China”, is one of China’s most popular video platforms. This platform is the perfect source for Chinese learners who would like to stream TV shows and movies in Chinese — with the help of Chinese subtitles. IQiyi focuses on high quality videos and in-house production. Please note, you need a VPN to access the content.

Recommended viewing: 十月围城 
Based on true events, this movie centers around a group of bodyguards sent to protect Dr. Sun Yat-Sen from assassination during his visit to Hong Kong in 1906.


老外看中國 and 老外看台灣 are hosted by Ben Hedge. These shows are popular because of their social and political commentary and frequently discuss topics involving Taiwan and China. The shows are also available on YouTube.

Tencent 腾讯

Similar to both YouKu and IQiyi, Tencent is another streaming video platform in China. However, like IQiyi, you will need a VPN to access Tencent’s videos if you are outside of China.

Recommended viewing: 北京遇上西雅图之不二情书 
The sequel to 2013’s “Finding Mr. Right“, this movie is about a couple who rekindle their romance and head to new locations in the U.S. and Europe. Actor Wu Xiubo and actress Tang Wei return to reprise their original roles.

Bonus: Viki

One of the best resources on the web for Chinese (Japanese and Korean too!) content is Viki. If you’re interested in watching the latest Chinese dramas with subtitles, then I highly recommend checking out this site. This post talks about Viki in more detail and how you can navigate through the content. Take a look!


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How to import Chinese subtitles into LingQ

Thanks to the internet, immersing yourself in Chinese doesn’t require you to travel abroad or sign up for an expensive language program.

However, it can be a bit tiresome to find interesting content, go back and forth between sites, use different dictionaries to look up words, and so on.

Check out LingQ to discover how to learn Chinese from content you love!

Learn Chinese on the LingQ mobile app
LingQ makes it much easier to read and listen to content

You can import videos, podcasts, and much more and turn them into interactive lessons.

Keep all your favorite Chinese content stored in one place, easily look up new words, save vocabulary, and review. Check out our guide to importing content into LingQ for more information.

LingQ is available for desktop as well as Android and iOS. Gain access to thousands of hours of audio and transcripts and begin your journey to fluency today.

Enjoyed this post? Check out polyglot and LingQ cofounder’s blog post for tips on how to learn Mandarin!


Grew up in Hong Kong, Annie Law is fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin. She’s a reporter from 9-5 and a foodie 24/7 who’s proud to call Vancouver her home.

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