I was trying to write a sentence in which I referred to films produced in non-English-speaking countries in languages other than the English language, but with English subtitles added to them:

...collections of foreign films with English subtitles...

As an English-speaking person from an English-speaking country, were I speaking to an audience of people from English-speaking countries, that might work. However, my audience consists of people who are not only from English-speaking countries, but from around the world. How can I rephrase the above expression to avoid using the term "foreign"--which is relative to whatever country is "native"--to describe those films, but to still have the meaning of being films that are not produced in the English language?

  • @NigelJ That might work here, but I'm also looking for a single word that could replace the compound adjective "non-English" in any context. For instance, if the films didn't have subtitles. Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 4:10
  • @NigelJ That would work if I meant English as relating to the country of England/UK, however I'm going to edit the question to specify that I'm asking about the English language, i.e. what's shared between Britons, Americans, Australians etc. I should have specified English language vs. nationality to begin with! Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 4:24
  • "An collection of films created in the wonderful world beyond English speaking borders, with English captions to aid their enlightenment"
    – Tom22
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 5:50
  • Less pithy and less provocative: "Films in languages beyond English, with English subtitles"
    – Tom22
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 5:52
  • To be specific on production location? : "Films produced beyond the English speaking film industry, with English subtitles"
    – Tom22
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 5:54

2 Answers 2


It seems to me like you already know and decided against this option (given you use it in your post), but I think the right expression is, in fact, non-English films. Or if you want to be even more clear (and are OK with something longer), non-English-language films. Both are used and mean the same thing (films not in the English language).

"Non-English films":

"Non-English-language films":

  • 1
    I was actually looking for a non-compound adjective, but it appears "non-English" is the only expression that includes all languages with the exception of English, which is what I was looking for. Thanks for the examples as well. Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 14:33

The following attempts to offer solutions that respond to the dilemma described by the OP. None of the solutions below mean "non-English" as requested in the OP's title.

Films made around the world with English subtitles.

If a film is described as having English subtitles, readers/viewers will infer that it is not in English. Alternatively, may I suggest either mother-tongue, one's native language,

Films in mother-tongue with English subtitles


Multinational films with English subtitles
International films with ...

  • I wonder whether it's going a step too far to suggest that the term be dropped completely: "Films () with English subtitles".
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 9:01
  • 1
    @Lawrence I often watch English films with subtitles because I am hard of hearing, and because all too often movie dialogues are mumbled, or softly spoken, certain directors think it adds realism... bah humbug.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 9:03
  • 2
    That (English films with English subtitles) was part of what I meant by going a step too far. But the OP doesn't seem concerned about excluding English films. He'd probably be happy to include English films so long as non-English films aren't considered 'foreign' when they're in the customer's native language. He doesn't even care if there aren't subtitles at all. :)
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 9:08
  • "International films with English subtitles" is the phrase that I'd go for, and I'm sure I've seen it used in the media.
    – Mick
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 9:54
  • As much as I am an optimistic person, it seems that if there is a single word that describes "non-English," it's obscure at best or otherwise nonexistent. Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 22:11

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