In some areas of the world, you might see more than one set of subtitles on a cinema screen at once. This is because the country might have more than one major language so just showing one subtitle language isn’t enough. This becomes a problem at home as DVD/media players and TVs cannot display more than one subtitle at once on discs or when playing video files and you would have to encode the subtitles you want into the video itself.
Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the case on a computer and it’s quite easy to display two subtitles on a video at the same time if you have the right media player software to allow it. Here we show you six solutions for playing two subtitles on your Windows computer. All you need is the video file and the required language SRT subtitle files or subtitles embedded inside the video file.
Tip: For best results, you should rename subtitle files to something like nameofvideofile.language.SRT. For instance, Myvideofile.eng.SRT. Then put the files in the same folder as the video. This way, most media players will automatically detect the subtitles without you having to manually load them. Also, make sure your subtitles are synced correctly or they will display at different times.1. KMPlayer 64X
KMPlayer has been able to play more than one subtitle at once for quite a few years. Apart from that ability, it also boasts a number of options for displaying, loading, and saving the subtitles back out again. Some of the other subtitle features are merging subtitles together, subtitle explorer/editor, syncing, multiple display and effect options, and an online subtitle finder.
By default, KMPlayer will show the first selected subtitle at the bottom, internal or external subtitles are supported. You can add a second by right clicking on the video window > Subtitle Track > 2nd Subtitle > Enable. Then go back to the 2nd Subtitle menu and select the subtitle you want to add at the top of the video.
There is actually a 32-bit version of KMPlayer that can show three subtitles at once, but it also contains adware in the player window. If you have a 32-bit Windows or want to add a third subtitle, try that. Otherwise, we’d recommend sticking to the 64X version.
2. Daum PotPlayer
PotPlayer is by the same developer that created KMPlayer who decided to leave that project and start another. Unsurprisingly, PotPlayer also has a range of subtitle options like KMPlayer, including a subtitle browser, online search/download, loads of tweaking and display options, and even a translator. PotPlayer can show two subtitles on the video at the same time with one at the top and one at the bottom.
How to add a second subtitle onto the video is similar to KMPlayer and done through the context menus. Right click on the video > Subtitles > Add/Select Subtitles > 2nd Subtitle, and select the language to be placed at the top. If any external SRT files are not in the same folder you can manually browse and load them for primary or secondary subtitles from the same menus. A portable version can be downloaded from PortableApps.
3. Media Player Classic – Home Cinema
Media Player Classic – Home Cinema (MPC-HC) has been popular for many years partly for being able to smoothly play full HD content on low end or old hardware. The disadvantage of MPC playing two subtitles at once is it can’t do it out of the box and requires you to do a few things first. MPC-HC was officially discontinued in 2017 but it’s still kept up to date by third parties wishing to keep the project alive.
Firstly, you need to install a Directshow filter called VSFilter which takes care of showing the second subtitle. Download and install VSFilter and tick the box to configure it when the install is complete. In the Main tab, check Override placement and enter a vertical (V) number somewhere between 0-25 to put this subtitle at the top. Click OK.
Secondly, open MPC-HC and go to Options (O) > Advanced, double click the BlockVSFilter entry to make it False. Click OK, close, and then reopen MPC-HC.
When you open a video file and want two subtitles, you can access the main bottom subtitle from the right click > Subtitles menu, the second subtitle is accessed via Filters > “VSFilter (auto-loading version)”. A green arrow icon in the system tray is also visible where you can right click and alter the top subtitle.
Note that you can mix internal and external subtitles or use all external subtitles using VSFilter. However, it doesn’t appear to work with just internal subtitles. Media Player Classic – Black Edition (MPC-BE) is a popular fork of MPC-HC with some extra tweaks and features. However, we weren’t able to get two independent subtitles to show at once using this method. If you can get it to work, let us know in the comments.
SMPlayer is a frontend GUI for the command line MPlayer which is the video engine behind a number of media players. The last time we tried the program for this article a few years back, showing two subtitles at the same time didn’t work. However, any previous issues appear to be corrected and it does now show two subtitles at once. Subtitles can easily be resized using the Shift+R/T shortcuts.
Choosing a secondary subtitle in SMPlayer is very easy. All you have to do is right click on the video > Subtitles > Primary/Secondary track and choose the subtitle language you want. External files can be browsed for and loaded, and you can also search for and download subtitles from opensubtitles.org from within the same menu. A portable version is also available.
5. MPV Player
MPV uses a combination of MPlayer and FFMpeg to play video files. It doesn’t have a fully featured user interface and most functions are controlled via the command line and with keyboard shortcuts. You can’t load external subtitles or show two subtitles at once by default and they have to be added from the command line. Running a small ready made batch script will perform the task.
First, download and extract the MPV Player archive from SourceForge (A 7z compatible archiver is required). Then download our batch script Zip archive and extract the files to the MPV folder. We’ve split the subtitles into two script types; video with internal subtitles (like MKV files), and external subtitle files (such as SRT files).
To play internal subtitles, drop a video onto MPV_Internal_Subs.bat and it will play the first and second subtitles by default. To change this, edit the batch file and the following arguments:
–sid=1 – The ID of the primary (bottom) subtitle
–secondary-sid=2 – The ID of the second (top) subtitle
You can view which subtitles are in the video by playing it with MPV and cycling through the available subtitles by clicking on the right of the play/seek bar. Whichever number you want to show, enter that as the sid=##. Save the batch file when you have finished and drop a file onto it to test.
When using external subtitle files, all you have to do is rename the files to include the name of the video file and any extra text you wish. Such as:
Myvideofile.mp4, Myvideofile-en.srt, Myvideofile-ru.srt
Myvideofile.mp4, Myvideofile_1.srt, Myvideofile_2.srt
Drop the video onto MPV_External_Subs.bat and the subtitles will automatically load and be displayed. We have included a third script that allows you to supply specific names for the subtitle files. You have to edit the batch file to add the names after the “–sub-files=” argument. Separate the names with a semicolon. For example:
–sub-files=Sub_bottom.srt;Sub_top.srt –sid=1 –secondary-sid=2
If you want to change options like display font, color, position (primary subtitle only), or transparency, read MPV’s subtitle documentation. Most options to alter the look of the subtitles will affect the primary subtitle only or both together.
BS.Player is one of a few media players that offer a paid version which is a pricey €29.90 for a year’s worth of Pro version updates. Thankfully, the free version handles playing two subtitles at once with no problem. A few options like uploading/downloading subtitles, and adjusting timings are available. Some useful functions are the ability to have different colors or fonts, and a custom position for each subtitle.
Adding subtitles is similar to SMPlayer. Right click on the video > Subtitles, and choose Primary or Secondary for a sub menu listing the bottom and top subtitles. Do note that BS.Player is not self contained like many other media players and offers to install some third party software such as AC3 Filter and LAV Filters. While they’re not required to display two subtitles, they may be needed to actually play your videos correctly.
Merging the Subtitles into one File
This isn’t a piece of software but is instead an easy way to display two subtitles at the same time in just about any media player that supports playing SRT subtitle files. It’s is done by simply merging the SRT files from different languages into one main file so you only ever have to load one subtitle SRT. The advantage is this also works for DVD players, TVs, and hardware multimedia players that support a single SRT subtitle file.
You can follow the guide in our How To Add Two or More Subtitles to Video article. The resulting SRT file should allow the player to play two or even three subtitles together automatically at the bottom of the video with optional different colors.
Editor’s Note: VLC Media Player has never had a simple option for playing two subtitles at the same time. That will change with version 4 because the option is built in. At the time of writing, VLC 4 is still in alpha/beta phase and the second subtitle option was quite unreliable when we tested it. When VLC 4 becomes a full release, we will update the article to include it if the dual subtitle option is included and works as intended.
Additional Note: Another option to get two subtitles at once is using the Greenfish subtitle player to show a secondary subtitle in a separate window.