Learning a foreign language can be tricky. It takes a lot of time, practice, and memorization to grasp the concepts necessary to become proficient in another language. Additionally, it can be challenging to find simple exercises and tools to help students practice and engage with new a language in the classroom.

Manually translating and subtitling a video into another language is a great way for students to practice their listening and sentence building skills. While translating a video, students are able to break down a clip, pause to consider the meaning, and work to translate each phrase in a way that makes sense.

The creative freedom and autonomy to pick a video can be very helpful for keeping students excited and engaged with the material they are working on. In school, I always felt the most excited about projects that have given me the freedom to explore and create.

Kapwing’s Subtitle tool is useful for video translation because it allows students to subtitle any video in whatever language they want. You can listen to a video phrase by phrase and embed your transcription into the bottom of the video. Kapwing also offers an automatic translation tool that can translate any video into 60+ different languages. In this article, I describe how to manually use video subtitles to study a foreign language.

To help demonstrate the simplicity of the tool, I’ve created a step by step guide to putting subtitles on a video in Kapwing. For this example, I will be putting Spanish subtitles on a scene from one of my favorite childhood shows, Phineas and Ferb! Here’s a snippet of what a subtitled video will look like when it’s done:

Here are the four easy steps you can follow to create a subtitled video of your own:

1 Put your selected video clip into Kapwing Subtitler
2 Add and adjust subtitles in English
3 Go line by line to translate each subtitle into Spanish
4 Export your video to share with others

Step 1: Put your selected video clip into Kapwing Subtitler

I selected a 40 second clip from YouTube from the show Phineas and Ferb to use for this example. Using Kapwing, you can copy a link directly into the subtitler or upload a video from your computer. Once you upload the video into the Kapwing subtitler, it should look something like this.

Step 2: Add and adjust subtitles in English

Next, play around with the Add subtitle feature to create subtitles for your video. Kapwing makes it easy to type in a sentence, dictate how long you want it to appear on the screen, and choose where in the video you want it to go. You can also get creative with the color of the words, background, and the font!

Subtitle Maker Editor

Step 3: Go line by line to translate each subtitle into Spanish

After you have created your English subtitles, go back through line by line to translate each one into Spanish, or whatever language you are learning! To do this you may need to refer to a textbook, class notes, or look up a certain word or phrase online.

Step 4: Export your video to share with others

Once your Spanish subtitles are complete, you can click create in the bottom left corner of the screen to process and export your video! From there you can download it, make a copy, or go back to edit the video in Studio if there’s anything you want to change.

That's how you use video subtitling to study a foreign language in school. Happy subtitling! And be sure to tag @kapwingapp with your creations!

This article is part of a series featuring educational tutorials and lesson plan inspirations for K-12 classrooms! Want to see more? Check out the Kapwing Resources Page!