Do you like to watch foreign films?  Or do you just want to keep the volume low when you watch TV shows and movies? If the answer to either of those questions was yes, you need subtitles.  Kodi has very powerful and customizable built-in subtitle functionality.  Keep reading to find out how to add subtitles to Kodi.

Disclaimer: This guide is intended to help readers access content they already have purchased the rights to access, but are for whatever reason unable to access either temporarily, or permanently. Flixed.io does not support software piracy, and bears no responsibility for what you decide to do with the contents of this article. Furthermore, please note that Flixed.io in no way hosts, develops, or produces any of the software mentioned within this article. For more information, please see our full disclaimer here.


Before we Proceed

We highly recommend using a VPN when using Kodi. Kodi users have been known to receive copyright infringement notices for streaming movies, sports, and TV shows through various addons. If you would like to keep your streaming habits private, our recommendation is IPVanish - a complete privacy solution for Kodi users. It's also worth noting that purchasing a 12 month subscription will give you two months free.

IPVanish and Kodi


5 reasons to use subtitles

Most people use subtitles to help them understand foreign language movies and shows.  But, there are many other uses for subtitles.

Subtitles give you a way to watch TV with the volume turned all the way down.  Also, if you’re interested in the craft of screenwriting, subtitles may give you new insights.  Additionally, subtitles can help you learn a new language.  Yet another reason to use subtitles is the fact that doing so can help you guard against hearing loss caused by listening to loud sounds.

1.  Watch movies and TV shows without disturbing others.

Subtitles are especially useful if you want to watch TV with the sound off.  Subtitle mode comes in handy if you don’t want to wake up your kids or your partner when watching TV at night, or if the environment around you is noisy and distracting.

2.  Understand foreign films.

If you’ve run out of things to watch in your own language, try watching a few foreign films.  If you want to check out movies and TV shows from other cultures, there’s a ton of content that’s waiting for you to explore.  There are good English translations of just about every major program and movie ever made.

3.  Gain a new appreciation of movie dialogue.

Are you the type of person that likes to memorize memorable bits of movie dialogue?  If so, you might want to consider using subtitles.  Subtitles can help you gain a better appreciation for scriptwriting.  Seeing the words appear on the bottom of the screen will enable you to gain a better understanding of how dialogue can make or break a story.

4.  Learn a new language.

Language experts say that one of the best way to learn a language is to watch subtitled movies.  You can learn the basics of a language from a grammar book.  But subtitled movies give you a much better feel for how people really talk.

5.  Protect your ears.

Your ears are sensitive organs.  If you damage the microscopic hair-like projections (known as stereocilia) that perch on top of the hair cells, they won’t grow back.  That’s why if you already suffer from NIHL (Noise Induced Hearing Loss), it’s a very bad idea to crank up the volume when you watch TV.  Loud volume TV will only cause further damage to your ears.

How to turn on subtitles in Kodi Krypton

If you haven’t upgraded to Kodi Krypton yet, you should.  The newest flavor of Kodi features improved video playback, enhanced sound, improved web scrapers and a long list of subtle technical improvements.

Read on to find out how to find the subtitles settings menus in Kodi Krypton’s new default skin, Estuary.

1.  Click the gear icon 

If you look on the top left side of the screen, you’ll notice a blue bubble with a white gear inside of it.  Click that to open up Kodi Krypton’s settings menu.

2.  Select the player settings menu

Player settings is the topmost menu on the left.

3. Configure your language settings

Click the language menu on the left to open it up.

By default, Kodi is set to search for and download English subtitles.  If you want to download subtitles for other languages, click languages to download subtitles for.

4.  Choose your subtitles addon

Click default tv show service.  You should see a screen that looks like the one depicted below.

Click get more to pull up a list of subtitle addons.  Then, choose one of the subtitle addons from the list.

After you pick your TV shows subtitles addon, select default movie service and pick the default subtitle addon you want to use for movies.

 

Note:  There’s no limit to the amount of subtitle services you can download.  It’s a good idea to get several different subtitles services, that way you’ll have a greater chance of finding subtitles when you need them.

How to configure open subtitles

If you’re looking for English subtitles, we recommend that you download opensubtitles.org.  In order to use the opensubtitles.org addon, you have to visit the website and create a free account.

Once you get your free Open Subtitles account, you have to enter your username and password into the addon first before you can use it.

  1.  Go to opensubtitles.org and create an account.
  2.  Open up the addons main menu, then click the enter addons browser button.
  3.  Next, click my addons and open the menu labeled subtitles.
  4.  Hover over open subtitles, then alt click it to bring up the contextual menu.
  5.  Enter your username and password.

5.  Download some subtitles

After you’ve selected a few subtitle services, just pull up a movie and click the white subtitles chat bubble icon on the bottom of the screen.

After you click the chat bubble, select download.  All your subtitle services should be listed on the left side of the screen.  If there are any subtitles available, they’ll be listed on the right.

How to get foreign language movies and TV shows

Now that you’ve got subtitles, you can watch all kinds of foreign language content.  Check out the articles listed below if you’re looking for good foreign language addons.

The Best Bollywood Addons

Although American and British films are universally popular, Bollywood is still big in and outside of India. Many Kodi Bollywood addons are designed just for Bollywood fans, streaming great content direct from India. And while some of the best Bollywood addons for Kodi are Bollywood-specific, there are many well-known addons that cover the gamut from Bollywood to Hollywood.

The Best Chinese Addons

Chinese dramas are particularly hot right now.  CCTV’s dramatic series Scarlet Heart has earned a huge international following thanks in large part to charismatic performances from starlet Liu Shi Shi.

Also, 2015’s Love Me If You Dare— a police procedural Chinese drama centered around the relationship between a genius detective (Wallace Huo) and his assistant Jian Yao (Sandra Ma)– is racking up millions of views.

Despite the growing popularity of Chinese dramas in the east, most networks outside of Asia just don’t broadcast them.  However, Kodi fans have several different options for tuning in.

The Best Korean Drama Addons

Korea is a relatively small country, but its cultural impact is huge.  With the rise of K-pop in the 90s and the resulting “Korean wave” that proliferated Korean culture around Asia, hit Korean dramas like Sweet Stranger and Me and Descendants of the Sun have racked up millions of worldwide fans.

If you’ve got Kodi, there are many addons that will help you find the latest episode of your favorite Korean TV show as well as the most popular Korean movies.  Links to Korean content can be found on lots of different streaming movie addons.  Check out the article below to find out where to get them.

More foreign film resources

Outside of the United States, there are plenty of films and film industries breaking boundaries and exploring interesting topics.  With such a heavy focus on the American film industry, finding great international films can sometimes be a bit challenging.  Thankfully, Kodi is a great source for international film lovers.

We scoured through a long list of Kodi addons across a wide range of different languages, in an attempt to figure out which ones offered the best international films.  Our initial criteria was pretty straightforward. We first looked for addons that:

  1. Connect to a decently large library of international films (100+)
  2. Have genre-based categorization.
  3. Have working links.

After several hours of searching, it became apparent that addons with dedicated international film categories are few and far between.  The only one we located with a dedicated list, Movies4ME, did not have functional links.  We then broadened the search to include a fourth criteria:

4. Must have a search function.

Because locating functional addons with dedicated international film sections proved fruitless, expanding the criteria to include a search function allowed for a lot of really great addons to make the list.  This highlighted the fact that few Kodi addons have dedicated international film categories.  Those that we found did have dedicated international film categories were full of dead links.

How to turn on subtitles in Kodi Jarvis

If you’re not ready to upgrade yet, follow the steps listed below to get subtitles in Kodi Jarvis (aka Kodi 16).

1.  Configure the Kodi subtitles settings page

A screenshot of Kodi’s subtitle settings page.

To get to the screen depicted above, navigate to system  →  settings → video → subtitles.

Once you get to the subtitles setup page, change the subtitle language to the one that you want to use.  You may also want to change what the subtitles look like by adjusting the font, font size, color and character set settings.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different subtitle settings.  If you don’t like the way your subtitles look, you can always come back to this page and make changes.

If you use Kodi with a large screen TV, you might be able to get away with using a smaller font for subtitles.  But if you use Kodi on a smartphone or a small screen TV, you may want to use a larger font size.

Tip: If you are using subtitle addons to learn a foreign language, you want to download subtitles for both English and the language that you’re trying to learn.  You can tell Kodi to download two or more different languages by adjusting the languages to download subtitles for menu.  

2.  Install the Open Subtitles subtitle service 

A screenshot of Kodi's default TV service setting.
A screenshot of Kodi’s default TV service setting.

Kodi’s official programmer team has endorsed several good subtitle services that you can get by clicking default TV service  → get more and/or default movie service  → get more.

Note: You have to scroll down to find the default TV service / default movie service menus.

The best official subtitle service out there right now is opensubtitles.org.

A screenshot of the opensubtitles.org installation menu.
A screenshot of the official opensubtitles.org addon.

You have to sign up for an account to use the official version Open Subtitles.  You can do that by opening up a web browser and visiting opensubtitles.org.

Once you get your credentials, you have to enter your login name and password into the addon configuration screen depicted below.

A screenshot of the Open Subtitles addon configuration screen.
A screenshot of the Open Subtitles addon configuration screen.

To bring up the Open Subtitles configuration screen, get the addon and then hover over it and press “c” on your keyboard to bring up Kodi’s contextual menu.  Then, select configure.

If you’d rather not create an Open Subtitles account, there is a 3rd party Open Subtitles addon that allows you to download and use Open Subtitles subs without signing up.

To get the unofficial version of Open Subtitles, you have to get SuperRepo.  You can download the SuperRepo zip file from https://srp.nu/jarvis/repositories/superrepo/.

After you’ve got the SuperRepo zip file, install it from within Kodi by navigating to system → settings → addons → install from zip → desktop from Kodi’s main menu.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-9-51-44-am
A screenshot of Kodi’s “install from zip” menu page

You’ll know the SuperRepo repository installation is complete when you see a popup appear on the lower right side of the screen.  After you see the popup, you can browse SuperRepo by navigating to system → settings → addons → install from repository → superrepo.

There are so many addons in SuperREpo that its administrators had to divide their catalogue into several different sub-repositories.  So in order to browse SuperRepo’s many subtitle addons, you have to install the specific addon subtitle category after you install the main SuperRepo repo.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-4-55-08-pm
SuperRepo’s list of sub-repositories.

Double click superrepo category subtitles [jarvis][v7] and then select install.  

Once the subtitles repository is installed, navigate to system → settings → addons → install from repository → superrepo category subtitles [jarvis][v7] → OpenSubtitles.org (Unofficial) to complete the installation of the unofficial version of Open Subtitles.

Note: If the Open Subtitles don’t have the subtitles you need, there are plenty of other 3rd party subtitle addons that give you access to rare and hard-to-find subtitle files.

3.  Configure Open Subtitles 

After you’ve got Open Subtitles, go back to system  →  settings → video → subtitles. 

Scroll down to make Open Subtitles your default TV and Movie subtitle service via the default TV service  → get more and default movie service  → get more settings menus.

A screenshot of the OpenSubtitles.org addon.

4.  Download subtitles from Open Subtitles

Now that you’ve connected the Open Subtitles service, you can download subtitles when you watch movies and TV shows.

Just play any movie or show that you like, and then click the subtitles button on the bottom right part of the screen.

A screenshot of Kodi’s subtitles button.

When you click on the subtitles button, a floating menu will come up.  Click download to add Kodi subtitles to the movie you are watching.  This will prompt Kodi to connect to Open Subtitle to see if there are any subtitles are available.

If the movie you’re watching is popular, you’ll get a long list of subtitles to choose from.

Ratings are displayed beside the subtitles.  Subtitles with better ratings tend to be better than unrated ones.  If there’s a 5-star subtitle available, download it for the best experience.

Note: Some subtitles writers are better than others.  For example, some subtitle writers just summarize what was said.  Others translate everything word-for-word.

A screenshot of English and Spanish subtitles for the movie Wolf of Wallstreet.

After you click one of the subtitles, it’ll download.  Subtitle files are very small, so the download shouldn’t take long.

A screenshot of Kodi's subtitles enabled menu.
A screenshot of Kodi’s subtitles enabled menu.

After the download is complete, click enabled to make the subtitles appear on your screen.

5.  Adjust the font (if necessary)

If you don’t like the way your subtitles look, you can change it by going back to the subtitle settings page via system  →  settings → video → subtitles.