Sunday, 14 June 2015


In July 2014 (one year ago!) I did a little work on a sub multiplexing application. Its purpose is very simple and practical: allow viewers whose native language differs to share subs on a single screen.

Finding Chinese subs

Finding Chinese subtitles has become difficult since went down (but see here). Downloading subs in a foreign language is a roundabout routine anyway.

  • Often, I need to find the name of the movie in its original language.
  • Go to Wikipedia zh, searching the film's original title. This is to retrieve the Chinese name.
  • I use to find Chinese subtitles. At the time of writing it looks like doesn't support Safari anymore.
  • There are a few subtitle formats around. I use Jubler to convert from substation alpha (*.ass, *.ssa) to SubRip (*.srt).
  • I often process videos in *.mkv format. One problem with this is that subs are baked into the mkv file. On OS-X I use MKVToolNix via homebrew. Once installed, in terminal (this is a command line tool):

    mkvinfo FILENAME.mkv

    => sift through the output to get the subtitle track index and the encoding (often, *.ass or *.srt)

    mkvextract tracks "FILENAME.mkv"

    => self explanatory?

Combining subs

Trivially, my utility parses the sub lists, merges, re-indexes. My player (VLC) manages overlaps gracefully. It would be cleaner to do this while merging the subs, but it's a lot more work.

A user interface

Today I built a trivial user interface for multiuser. Took 2 or 3 hours I guess; it is very, very simple.


I guess I'll try to submit MultiSub to the mac app store. Since I'm not planning on selling it, I could also make it available on free download sites.

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