Think of a language you do not speak. It probably sounds like a slur of syllables, all coming together to breeze past you in a whirlwind of disorder.
Japanese commuters converse with one another on a train in Tokyo. – Stephan Jarvis / Alamy
A study done at the University of Lyon examined how and why certain languages sound faster than others. The study involved seven common languages and a handful of texts to be read. After analysis, research conductors found that some languages truly are spoken faster than others.
For example, English is spoken at an average rate of 6.19 syllables per second, while Japanese is spoken at a rate of 7.84 syllables per second. How can this information help an interpreter do their job better?