Thanks for the Advice -- Using Subtitles for Chinese/English

A while ago, someone recommended that, if I were going to lift copyrighted sample sentences from a certain source, why don’t I just use movie subtitles?

Well, the answer was that I didn’t know where to find Chinese movie subtitles. I did some hunting and came across this page:

Then all you need to do is extract the text (tricky), line up the text to the timing (easy, but coding-intensive), and then copy the parallel texts to a document.

I did mine so that it would capture complete sentences, but you could really go in lots of directions if you’re proficient with database applets, or even Excel/Calc.

Thus far, I’ve done seven movies with success: Thank You For Smoking, Bad Santa, The Big Lebowski, The Libertine, Election, Tropic Thunder, and (per my Taiwanese S/O’s request) Blue Valentine.

Are the Chinese subtitles authentic Chinese, though? I’ve seen so many badly done English subtitles, I would hesitate to suggest a student use any of them for learning English. I guess you could get a Chinese native speaker to ‘vet’ them and tell you which ones are good Chinese.

Well, they’re authentic enough to make it on the Blu Ray releases of the films. Granted, none of the translations are perfectly done (as subtitling for any natural language in film has occasional errors in punctuation, spelling, timing, speech-to-text matching, etc.), but they get the dialogue across well enough, and they give just enough vocabulary in short bursts to make for acceptable reading.