The Subtitle Hack (Matrix Pt 5)
If the Internet hasn’t amazed you lately, well just stick around. This cunning hack was my end-run past what was both a linguistic & an entertainment nightmare.
In my last post, I recounted a working method for backing up your Swedish shows from BD or DVD disc, and subsequently playing your backup files. In that example, I intentionally used a disc from Season Two (S2) of the show Äkta Människor. That was the Dutch version, the only version of S2 I've ever seen for sale. Sadly, it has no Swedish subtitles.
I love the show, but without subtitles, it would have been a long time before I could watch S2 and catch more than about a third of what was said.
This lack of Swedish closed-captions forced a line of inquiry which revealed a vast source of subtitles: some 4.2 million subtitle files in 40+ languages. The site is OpenSubtitles.org.
I'll walk you through searching the site, and the procedure for knitting subtitles to .mkv files (again, see last post), using Äkta Människor as the example. For this post, we'll work with just Season 2, Episode 1 (S02E01) as the example. (The procedure is the same for the rest of the episodes, and for any other movie or show.)
Click on the "Advanced Search" link, once you get to the site. Enter the title of the show in the search box. Be sure to select Swedish in the box next to your title search! Also enter "2" in the "Season" box.
(If you have trouble with the search, click here to go to the results.) You should get a list of the ten episodes in S2.
Notice the blue link to the right of the "Uploaded" date, in the row for "Akta Manniskor" Episode #2.1 (2013). That is the link you click to download a copy of the subtitles. Be a bit patient here, as it takes about ten seconds to begin.
The file is compressed ("zipped") and should download quickly. Go to wherever you saved it, then copy the file to where you stored your Äkta Människor .mkv backup files.
Now we have to detour a moment. Check out the "Special note" in my last post. Your files should be arranged something like this -- a folder for the show, a folder for the season (ignore my Säsong_Ett), and then a folder for each episode. This subtitle hack is where keeping your files organized really pays off.
Now back to the hack. Copy your zipped subtitle file for S02E01 into your "Season Two", "Episode 1" folder (or whatever you called it). Open the zipped file and copy the two files which it contains. Go back to the Episode 1 folder and paste those two subtitle files. You now should have three files in your Episode 1 folder:
1. Your .mkv file, which is the episode itself
2. The .srt file, which is the subtitle file
3. The .nfo file, which is optional but holds version info & credits
Rename all three files, so the first part (before the dot) is the same.
Name them however you like, just make sure they match, up until the dot. (Don't change the three letters after the dot.) If the dot & three letters don't show up, that means you are using Windows' simplified view, where the ".mkv", ".nfo" and ".srt" are hidden. No problem -- you still should have the three files with icons as shown above. Just change the visible part of the names to be same, and you're done.
When you open Episode 1 in your VLC Player, go to the Subtitle menu, then the Sub Track menu, and you'll see the Dutch subtitles which were part of the DVD, along with the Swedish subtitles you just added -- Track 2.
And finally, the magic. A show that didn't come with Swedish subtitles now has them.
Watch, listen, read, learn, and enjoy!