Lonely Planet Writer

Learn a language while you watch Netflix with the help of this new tool

Looking to get to grips with a new language ahead of your next holiday? You can do so while watching your favourite foreign-language TV show. A brand new tool for Google Chrome called Learning Language with Netflix utilises the streaming platform’s vast selection of foreign-language offerings to make learning a new language more enjoyable.

Non-English language films on Netflix like Oscar-winning Roma can be utilised to learn a new language. Image courtesy of Netflix

If you spend a good chunk of your time binge-watching TV series, you may as well learn something while you’re at it, right? Netflix has an extensive catalogue of foreign-language shows and has seen incredible success recently with non-English language originals, such as the Oscar-winning film Roma, and the drug cartel series, Narcos. Other shows such as Germany’s Dark, Spain’s Elite, India’s Sacred Games and Norway’s Occupied are also making waves and by the end of the year Netflix plans to have 100 non-English language series in production.

Spain’s Elite is one of the most talked about shows on Netflix. Image by Netflix

Now these shows can be utilised to learn a foreign language thanks to Learning Language with Netflix (LLN). Set up by developers David Wilkinson and Ognjen Apic, the convenient service was launched as a browser extension for Chrome in December and it’s popularity has increased significantly since. According to the Guardian, more than 30,000 people downloaded the tool in February.

So how does it work? You need to download the Chrome extension first, which is free to use. Then choose what show or movie you want to watch on Netflix and select the subtitles you’re interested in learning while it plays. LLN offers two types of translations; one is a machine translation which is very literal (to help you understand sentence structures), while the second is a human translation which translates expressions and idiom. There’s a vocabulary highlighting feature, as well as learning tips for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

LLN helps Netflix users better understand foreign-language shows. Image by LLN

The tool only works on Google Chrome so you won’t be able to access it with your Netflix app on tablets but developers are hoping to expand its features over the next year. If you want to try it out for yourself, you can find more information here.