I’ve recently stepped my Chinese TV series watching, one partly because for my Mandarin homework we are working through book based on the TV series 香樟树. It is a bit old and extremely dramatic. People dying, raping, leaving each other and extremely bitchy family members. Not the best series, but if it helps with the homework, so it’s great.

So, I’ve been thinking recently what’s the best way to watch movies/tv in terms of subtitles.

1) Complete Chinese Immersion

They talk in Chinese and the subtitles are in Chinese. This is the way I’m currently watching my series, ‘cause they don’t have other options. Technically this would be great, as it allows for full immersion. I’m however, still struggling with my listening, so I’m reading more and following with the sounds as I watch. The subtitles are too fast so I have to rely on some sound to complete the rest.

2) Partial Chinese Immersion - Chinese Listening

This option, is a Chinese movie/series where they speak in Chinese, but the subtitles are in English. This, to me, is probably the worst, as you will most probably focus way too much on the English, and then not comprehend the Chinese speaking.

3) Partial Chinese Immersion - Chinese Reading

This option, is for instance when you watch an English movie/series, with Chinese subtitles. Basically movies adapted for a Chinese audience. I watched a movie, The Rebound, like this on a plane recently. It was actually interesting. I would definitely consider doing this more if I can find movies like this, as my English listening comprehension is high, I can concentrate on listening to the English and simultaneously read how people would translate the English into Chinese. At this moment in my Chinese, this was refreshing, ‘cause I could understand most of the Chinese through English. Strange, but effective.

Are there other options I have missed? How do you watch movies/tv? I prefer the full immersion even if I don’t understand everything, as it allows me to practice both my reading at listening at quicker speeds, but partial immersion via subtitles is also great if your level is a bit lower (listening, not reading).

There are indeed some other options, such as Chinese movies with English & Chinese subtitles, but that is just way too much info to process, making it kind of useless.