"What language is that speaking?"
It's a question Brisbane software engineer Jamie Teh often fields from people who happen to hear the strange sounds coming out of his computer.
"Sometimes I'll get things like, 'What's that noise?' Or, 'Is that water?' It's actually pretty funny to see some of the reactions," Teh said.
To the ordinary ear, the sounds are usually an unintelligible form of gobbledygook.
Most people are shocked when they're told it's actually English – just sped up to approximately 4-6 times the average speed of human speech.
Can you catch any words? Listen to the audio below to hear the first page of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, read at 900 words per minute, and test your skills.
While most people can't even decipher a single word at 900 words per minute, for Teh, it's kind of like speed reading.
Teh is blind.
He lost his sight as a baby when doctors needed to remove tumours in both of his eyes.
Like many blind people, Teh has developed the ability to process speech at an almost superhuman speed, as a way of adapting to a modern life filled with screens.
For people who are blind, or have low vision, using text-to-speech technology that reads aloud content from a mobile phone, tablet or laptop has become a normal part of their everyday lives.
Spending his days in front of a computer, Teh said he had learned to push the boundaries of how fast he can process speech more than most.
While the average person normally speaks at a rate of about 100-150 words per minute, Teh will spend a large part of his day listening to speech at about 900 words per minute.
"I am particularly excessive with my speech rate," he said.
"I think most blind people probably go to about 400 (words per minute) or something. I tend to push to 900 (words per minute) plus."
"My job does require me to process a lot of information, so I guess that's probably one reason that I've developed that ability.
"I'm also a little bit hyper-obsessed with efficiency, it's a personality trait."
Teh stresses that at 900 words per minute, he is not taking in every word.
"It's like when you're reading your emails, you're not really reading every word, you're just kind of skimming your inbox," he said.
"I can give you the gist of what it said, and I can tell you if I'm interested or not interested.
"If I'm reading an article for content, then I'll slow it down."
Teh and his childhood friend Michael Curran – who is also blind – spent years developing their own free and open-source screen reading software, NVDA, which is now used by 100,000 people around the world.
Teh said there were limits to how fast a human or "natural" voice could speak.
"In order to read at those really high speech rates, you almost want something a bit more robotic," he said.
"The robotic voices are the ones that have an almost unnatural consistency that allow for that kind of high-speech rate.
"It's not at all pleasant, but I don't care about the sound of the voice, if that makes sense.
"It almost becomes like a different part of my brain is processing that information, I can't really explain it."
The science behind the superpower
It turns out, Teh is right.
He is listening to ultra-fast speech in a different part of the brain to sighted people.
A team of neuroscientists from the University of Tübingen in Germany were the first to study how blind people are able to process speech at such fast rates, releasing a research paper on the topic back in 2010.
The team found blind people are able to comprehend speech at around four times the average speed.
The researchers took MRI scans of the brains of both sighted and blind people while they were listening to ultra-fast speech.
The scans showed that in blind people the part of the cerebral cortex that normally responds to vision was responding to speech.
Associate Professor Mac Shine, from Sydney University's Brain and Mind Centre, said it was a case of the brain rewiring itself and taking advantage of unused parts.
"In the case of a blind person, the idea would be that they use the visual parts of their brain to process sounds rather than visual inputs," Shine said.
"And now the sound processing can happen at a much, much faster rate, and they're not distracted by the other things.
"Vision is quite complicated and when we're reading words, we're limited by the fact that we can only move our eyes so fast, whereas you can pass auditory information as quickly as you can compress it.
"If you're a blind person listening to speech to text, you're not limited by the speed of your eye muscles.
"You're now limited by how quickly you can push the information through."
The speed at which blind people could comprehend speech would likely depend on when they had lost their sight, Shine said, as the brain's ability to form new pathways lessened with age.
Listening in code
Brisbane university student Tiana Offord, 20, was born blind and grew up using speech-to-text software on her iPad.
Offord said she was often met with gasps of shock from people when they heard her screen-reading software in action.
"They can't comprehend that I can actually understand what it says," Offord said.
Offord said it was almost like a secret language.
"No-one around me can understand it, unless they're blind," Offord said.
"So it means that I can read whatever I want and listen to whatever I want.
"I can answer text messages in public, and it can all be done out loud. I just need to make sure there's no blind people around me."
Offord, who is studying linguistics at university and is fluent in three languages, said her ability to listen to ultra-fast speech came in handy when studying.
"I can listen to lectures at double speed, or two-and-a-half times the speed.
"I also tend to finish exams quicker because I can read the questions quicker if they're online.
"I can interpret them quicker because I'm used to processing fast speech.
"So it's not a hard thing for me to read them and just go straight to it."
Contact reporter Emily McPherson at firstname.lastname@example.org