Thai subtitles in VLC

Preamble

I have a number of movies, in English, which I wanted my Thai girlfriend to understand, so I went in search for Thai subtitles…

Links

I first landed here, Where To Get Thai Subtitles For English Movies?

This pointed me to:

subdownloader is not available for OS X – but a quick search for an alternative revealed that VLC has a built in downloader (VLsub), which uses opensubtitles.org.

VLsub sometimes works (i.e. for Angry Birds), although you may need to modify the name of the movie in the search textbox. However, often when hitting the search button, I get the message “extension unresponsive”, and a dialog which quits VLC, using version VLsub 0.10.0 and 0.9.13 (which was already present) with VLC 2.2.2

I tried downloading the files manually from Thai subtitle, i.e. for Ringu, but I got a collection of random characters.

Screen Shot 2560-03-31 at 13.01.04.png

http://www.thaisubtitle.com/ has a large collection of Thai subtitles but, as http://grinninggecko.com/labs/thai-subtitle-converter/ states, the format is in TIS-620, en lieu of UTF-8, which is required for VLC. Therefore some conversion is required.

Further googling led me to Thai Sub Title problem

There are three options available for conversion:

  1. You can open the downloaded .ssa file in TextEdit, using Thai (ISO 8859-11) and save as Unicode (UTF-8) (UTF-16 is not recognised by VLC).
  2. Use the command line iconv -f ISO_8859-11 -t UTF-8 foo >foo.utf-8
  3. Use the online convertor Thai Subtitle Converter from Thai Sub Title problem

Thai Subtitle Converter

Tool to convert subtitles downloaded from ThaiSubtitle.com from their native TIS-620 encoding to the more functional UTF-8 (for use with VLC & MPlayer OSX Extended on OSX, maybe others on other platforms).

However, using all three methods gave me the same result and I still did not have good subtitles. Although the font is now in Thai, the individual characters are not rendered correcly, as the image below shows:

Screen Shot 2560-03-31 at 12.58.48.png

I had better luck with YTSsubtitles, as used here for the movie “Snatch”. Download the subtitle. Double click on the .zip file and then use

iconv -f ISO_8859-11 -t UTF-8 Snatch\ 2000\ th.srt> Snatch\ 2000\ th.UTF-8.srt

to obtain the correctly encoded subtitle file.

In the general form

iconv -f ISO_8859-11 -t UTF-8 th.srt> th.UTF-8.srt

I have had only one issue with this website (apart from its slowness), with the zipped subtitle file from Snatch Thai Subtitle, (the link was “Snatch” and not “Snatch (2000) 720p BluRay OCR”) when I double clicked the zip file I got a cpgz file (ad infinitum):

Screen Shot 2560-04-04 at 13.39.24

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