New memory system for fast translation of numbers


for the past 15 years or so I have spend the first week of my summer vacation trying out a new system for numbers (some were number shape based, others using numbers as letters). The reason I always give up on the system after a week or less is because my translation speed is just not improving enough to make the system magical; the best result I ever had was 100 digits in 2 minutes.

I think I found a solution to the translation speed.

Like with many other systems I translate numbers into letters:
0=o, 1=i, 2=n, 3=m,4=k, 5=s, 6=b, 7=t, 8=f, 9=g

Unlike any other system that I know, I don’t make words that are “real”. I simply pronounce the numbers using simple rules of pronounciation:

  • 2 digit numbers with 0 or 1 are pronounced as they are, for example 17=it (clown form movie).
  • other 2 digit numbers get an “a” in between the numbers, for example 45=kas
  • twin numbers like 22, 33, 44 are pronounced with an oe-sound (like in shoe), for example 22=noe,
    33 =moe, 44= koe ; this provides important variation in sounds.
  • 00 and 11 are pronounced as poe and loe (like Lou Ferrigno alias the Hulk) for practical reasons.

Suprisingly, a lot of “words” are real words in a language that I know (I speak dutch, englisch, german and a tiny bit spanish), the other “words” sound so similar to real words, that it is absolutely no problem to associate an object (or person) with it.

After 30 minutes of training I was able to translate 2 digits numbers faster than I have ever been able to do with any other system I tried.

The most magical part of this system, is that after 1 day of training I could look at a 10 digit number for 1 second and memorise it using my working memory, simply by pronouncing it like it’s the name of a foreign football player. With my eyes closed I can translate the sounds in the 5 objects with no effort

some examples:
4533441690 = kasmoekoe ibgo
7712674491 = toein batkoegi
0632552199 = obman soenigoe
4201667451 = kanoi boetaksi
0900231141 = ogpoe namloeki

I made this system a couple of days ago, so I don’t know ho far I will go in terms of actually memorising numbers with a memorypalace (my palace is not very good yet).

So, what do you thinks about this system?


That’s better than a lot of people.
It seems you have found what works for you.

I think you should test yourself to see how well you’ll do using a memory palace.
Let us know how you get on.

Interesting system.

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I would be interested to know how you arrived at that number=letter combination?

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It looks like it’s mostly visual similarities.

Yes it does.

It is indeed based on shape simularities. I can imagine that the “words” this system brings about are more suitable for dutch speaking people than let say english.

There is 1 “word” that can be used for both english and dutch speaking people in a rather funny way. In a dutch sort of farmer dialect the phrase "I don’t know (ik weet 't niet) sounds like “witnie” as in whitney Houston. So not suprisingly there is a joke that goes like: a farmer asks another farmer if he knows who sang “I wanna dance with somebody” and the other farmer respond: “witnie”. So the number 21 (ni) reminds me of this joke and therefore of Whitney Houston.

There are a couple of other dutch farmer dialiect connections in my system, for example 99 = goe.
“Goe” is short voor “goed” meaning good or well. So if a farmer (or a drunk person) is asked about the botlle of wine he consumed, he will raise his thumb and say “goe hoor” (asolutely good). So 99 is a bottle of wine.

I also make use of my rather above average memory of old commercials. I remember a german commercial from 30 years ago about some toothpaste that goes something like " immer weiße zähne mit …" (always white teeth with…), so 13 = im = toothpaste.

Another (dutch) commercial based number is 06 = ob (sounds like dutch word “op”, meaning “gone” or “no more”. In this commercial a child looks in the refrigerator and shouts “where is the big chocolate pudding?”, and the father (who is in his bedroom) responds “op” while having the entire chocolate pudding on his lap.

Anyway, thanks for taking an interest in my system.

Oh, I almost forgot something, that I should have mentioned in my original post.

There has been some discussion on this forum on the method used by Ramon Campayo, who is a speed memory champion. Based on what I could find about his method for numbers, I believe he must have a simular method as he proclaims to speed read and hold in his working memory a high number of digits and use a memory palace for the remaining ones. I don’t thinks that for example the major system is suitable for this kind of speed reading. In all honesty I also have trouble imagining my system allowing results like Ramon.

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Danke for the tip, should I ever need a new image for the deuce of hearts then „Mit der Kraft der zwei Herzen…


yesterday I did the 100 digit test en after 10 digits I got completely lost in the entrance of the office building were I work (first part of my memory palace). 30 minutes ago I tried again and this time I got 3,5 minutes with 8 digits (4 * 2 digit tnumbers) completely vanished from my memory, so 92 digits correct. The problems concerned Florence Griffith alias flo yo (80 = fo) sitting on the white toilet, a christmass tree (74=tak=branche) on a white bench in the lockerroom, a guitar (91=gi) on a white table in the hallway and finally a dutch flag (14=ik, difficult to explain reason) on the white surface of a basketbal board). So if the location is white it doesn’t work for memorising.

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Perhaps then you can attach a number shape image to the location to make it more memorable.

What I do sometimes is I add a number shape in my 5th, 10th, 15th locations to make a mental note of where I am with what I’m trying to memorise. It works well for me, and may also work for you where you are struggling with white locations.

Your idea reminds of the treasure hunts I did when I was a kid. On such a treaure hunt (in dutch: speurtocht, meaning literally searching journey) we got a map with a location we had to go to and on that location we he had to solve a puzzle to find the next map, so finally we could find the treasure.

The memory palace variation of this idea may be a sequence of locations with a unique assignment, like throw the number object in the air, or kick it. The biggest problem of making such a memory palace is coming up with at least 50 different assignments (for 100 digits).

If you don’t get any sudden confusion seeing things like this

1412 resembling KID
Then not being able to ‘un-see’ this, it seems like quite a good system in the short run.

I can for example remember kasmoekoe ibgo toein batkoegi obman soenigoe
in one reading without it having any particular meaning. This is 30 digits in one reading, which is arguably quite impressive given that I am not adding any images.

Since you made this system a couple of days ago it may become even better when you keep working at it, right now the main downside seems to be memorising say 10000 digits in a go and guaranteeing every combination will resemble an image.

I believed a long while ago when I looked at what he was doing he was employing a few systems near simultaneously. He would look at a section of digits and keep these in his visual working memory, say another set and the largest set he would encode in his memory palace.

The major system isn’t really supposed to be quick without training. This is partly because you are not trying to generate images in non-stamina speed competitions, you should have the images ready as quickly as possible.

The way I see it is, a single image encoding for X numbers of digits can certainly be done and trained to within 0.10 seconds without having to do anything unusual, but this is a near master level which can take as much time as it needs. That is then I suppose 10 images in a second. Still much ahead of any world records to give a scale of difficulty.


I really like the 1412=kid you gave me. I totally believe that keeping 30 digits in your working memory is possible, although I can’t do that yet. So the 1412 shortcut in combination with other simular shortcuts would greatly help the working memory part of the 100 digit event.

I have tried to use other working memory mehods simultaneously to vocalisation like typing the last digits on an imaginary number key but without much succes.

Since you made this system a couple of days ago it may become even better when you keep working at it, right now the main downside seems to be memorising say 10000 digits in a go and guaranteeing every combination will resemble an image.

If you mean every combination of 10 digits, than you absolutely right, but I do have an object for every 2 digit sound.

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Some good people from Construct 3 fourms have created a software (which can be edited using Construct 3) for your system and that software is called “The Memory System” and it is in this fourm-,Cheers.

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An online demo for that software can be found and it can also deal with negative numbers.

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Just checked it, works well.
How can the app be edited?
Does it require programming knowledge?

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No,editing the app does not require programming knowledge as it uses Construct 3(which I myself use from time to time without having programming knowledge!) which contains a visual editor and you can find about it from this website or even by doing a Google Search of “Construct 3”.

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Erol,I forgot to mention that this app can be edited using Construct 3 which runs in a browser and there are many videos of working with Construct 3 in Youtube,Cheers.

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Eric,I forgot to mention that this software whose link in the web is - can also be used to generate words for negative numbers which i feel is interesting and with a few extra letters for the basic symbols - *,/,+,-. and maybe with a few systems can also become useful for memorising equations or sums and when combined with memonimics this system can become even more powerful,Cheers.

That’s rather amazing, thanks for the effort. A simular program can be made using a spreadsheet program like excel. Just a couple of months ago I became employee of the year for making a spreadsheet computer program that calculates serial number ranges from pallets given the first and last serial number from a palletlabel and the piece quantity of the pallet regardless of the serial number setup and length. In short it chops the serial number in 1 digit/letter pieces and analyses the pieces individually and as a whole, calculates the range and puts the pieces back together. The method should be very simular to a number to text program.

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