Reading subtitles aloud

iOS and iPadOS

I wanted to ask for thoughts on the state of reading subtitles aloud on iOS, but really I'd take any platform.

My understanding is that Netflix and iTunes can read subtitles aloud with Voiceover, so if the media you're looking for is on one of those platforms you're doing all right. However, I've been wanting to watch One Punch Man's season 2, and it's not available on those platforms, and I don't believe they've created a dubbed version.

I've...acquired...a version of the season in MKV with embedded English subtitles, and also found an external subtitle file that I can load. However, the way that's recommended online to read subtitles aloud in iOS, nplayer, no longer seems to function, apparently after an update. Seems like a good and mostly pretty accessible app, but the functionality for reading subtitles with VO just doesn't work, as far as I can tell. I've activated the subtitles with voiceover toggle both in and out of the video and also tried loading the external subtitle file, with no luck.

Just for completeness, I'll also describe the other routes I've gone trying to watch this season.

I used KMplayer to watch season 1 using embedded subtitles. However, later versions of KMplayer have a bug where the subtitle voice output repeats until the next trigger, which is really impossible to listen to. If I roll back to the earlier version of KMplayer (3.7), the video doesn't work, because the version of season 2 I have needs newer codecs or something.

VLC has a plugin that someone wrote to read subtitles aloud and which was incorporated into the main VLC application. This would be great if it worked, but it does not seem to function. It seems that this feature only works with externally loaded subtitle files, and I did try loading a file, but I still get no voice output. Tried this in both Windows and Linux.

I'm a programmer, and willing to put in the time and energy to get this working, and still I've come up mostly dry here. Wanted to know if the community had any thoughts. I'm also well resourced, I have Windows, Mac OS, and Linux devices, plus iOS and Android, and can afford to buy or subscribe to things. I'll really take any suggestions here.

I'm going to link below to other pages on reading subtitles aloud, if for no other reason than I might find them useful if I'm tempted to go down this rabbithole again in the future.

nplayer for iOS:
KMplayer for Windows: Not linking to a download as this utility is borderline malware. 3.7 is the version that works, 3.8 and later is bugged.
Discussion of this problem on Nextup:
Discussion of adding the TTS plugin to VLC:
Low vision guy who created a video on this issue:



Submitted by Adaria on Friday, September 27, 2019

Hulu can also do this now, before it did not.

However, GOMPlayer is a good resource for Windows that can also read subtitles from files aloud.

Hope this helps.

Submitted by Patrick Smyth on Friday, September 27, 2019

Thanks! Can you elaborate a little on Hulu? Are we talking the Hulu app for iOS? Do you have to do anything special to get the subtitles to read?

Submitted by Adaria on Friday, September 27, 2019

Yes, Hulu for iOS, just ensure subtitles are on in the app and that the media description is set to whichever one you want in the rotor and it should read them aloud. I did this with Sailor Moon Season 5 and it worked nicely. Not sure if Hulu has one Punch Man Season 2 though.

Submitted by Patrick Smyth on Friday, September 27, 2019

Hulu does have One Punch Man season 2, actually, so I might go ahead and sign up.

Just to follow up on GOMplyaer, I tried turning on the TTS option in the accessibility menu and it still didn't read anything. Did you have to do anything special to get that feature to work?

Submitted by Patrick Smyth on Friday, September 27, 2019

Been playing with GOMplayer, and set it to say that the feature is on when you turn it on. When I turn on the TTS feature, it says it's on using SAPI. Then there's no reading of subtitles at all. This is lieterally the fourth app I've tried that has a bogus subtitle feature (nplayer, VLC, KMplayer, GOMplayer). Kind of frustrating.

Submitted by Adaria on Friday, September 27, 2019

It used to work for me, but it has been a long long time since I used it unfortunately so can't tell you exactly how I got it to work properly or what kind of files I was using. Know I had to have subtitles on at minimum, but don't really remember much else, sorry I can't be more help.

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