Fastest Speaker in the World Title

Most people speak at a rate of 50-100 words per minute, that is around 1-2 words per second, but there are three people in the world that are able to speak faster than everybody else. There isn’t just one fastest speaker in the world! Fran Capo of the US, Seán Shannon of Canada and Steve Woodmore of the UK are the fastest speakers in the World.

They continually compete against one another for the title of Fastest Speaker in the World among frequent newcomers.

Fran Capo holds five World records. She appears in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest talking woman. Actually, Fran broke this record twice; Fran’s first time was on the Larry King Live! show in 1986 speaking 585 words per minute and the second time was at the Guinness Museum in Vegas, speaking 603 words in 54.2 seconds. That’s eleven words a second!

Steve Woodmore broke the previous records of the fastest speaker in 1990 on a British TV show called ‘Motor Mouth’. He recited a piece of the famous soliloquy “To be, or not to be” from William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’ in 56 seconds. That’s an average rate of 637 words per minute.

Steve Woodmore held this record for five years until Seán Shannon beat him with a rate of 655 words per minute in 1995 when he also recited Hamlet’s famous soliloquy “to be, or not to be” [260 words] in a time of 23.8 seconds in Edinburgh on 30th of August 1995.

If you are a Mandarin speaker however, the fastest talker speaking Mandarin is Feng Qingping of China. Feng achieved this record when he recited the first three paragraphs of “Mulanci” in 20.5 seconds in Beijing in 2013.

Why is this important?

We provide voice-overs, transcriptions and subtitling services. Knowing the average speed and number of words people speak is useful in estimating and quoting for translation projects.

Let’s say you have a TV interview with 2 people for 15 minutes. How many words would there be to translate? 15 minutes at an average of 150 words a minute means you’ll have approximately 2,250 words of text to translate and subtitle.

Often with voice-overs, you also need to consider the target language. German can be 20% to 30% longer than English; subtitling in German can be tricky. With German you have more words to fit into a fixed video slot. Our audio and video teams can help you with advice on the best way to put your multilingual video projects together.