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Faster Whisper transcription with CTranslate2

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Faster Whisper transcription with CTranslate2

faster-whisper is a reimplementation of OpenAI's Whisper model using CTranslate2, which is a fast inference engine for Transformer models.

This implementation is up to 4 times faster than openai/whisper for the same accuracy while using less memory. The efficiency can be further improved with 8-bit quantization on both CPU and GPU.



For reference, here's the time and memory usage that are required to transcribe 13 minutes of audio using different implementations:

Large-v2 model on GPU

Implementation Precision Beam size Time Max. GPU memory Max. CPU memory
openai/whisper fp16 5 4m30s 11325MB 9439MB
faster-whisper fp16 5 54s 4755MB 3244MB
faster-whisper int8 5 59s 3091MB 3117MB

Executed with CUDA 11.7.1 on a NVIDIA Tesla V100S.

Small model on CPU

Implementation Precision Beam size Time Max. memory
openai/whisper fp32 5 10m31s 3101MB
whisper.cpp fp32 5 17m42s 1581MB
whisper.cpp fp16 5 12m39s 873MB
faster-whisper fp32 5 2m44s 1675MB
faster-whisper int8 5 2m04s 995MB

Executed with 8 threads on a Intel(R) Xeon(R) Gold 6226R.


Implementation Precision Beam size Time Gigaspeech WER
distil-whisper/distil-large-v2 fp16 4 - 10.36
faster-distil-large-v2 fp16 5 - 10.28
distil-whisper/distil-medium.en fp16 4 - 11.21
faster-distil-medium.en fp16 5 - 11.21

Executed with CUDA 11.4 on a NVIDIA 3090.

testing details (click to expand)

For distil-whisper/distil-large-v2, the WER is tested with code sample from link. for faster-distil-whisper, the WER is tested with setting:

from faster_whisper import WhisperModel

model_size = "distil-large-v2"
# model_size = "distil-medium.en"
# Run on GPU with FP16
model = WhisperModel(model_size, device="cuda", compute_type="float16")
segments, info = model.transcribe("audio.mp3", beam_size=5, language="en")


  • Python 3.8 or greater

Unlike openai-whisper, FFmpeg does not need to be installed on the system. The audio is decoded with the Python library PyAV which bundles the FFmpeg libraries in its package.


GPU execution requires the following NVIDIA libraries to be installed:

Note: Latest versions of ctranslate2 support CUDA 12 only. For CUDA 11, the current workaround is downgrading to the 3.24.0 version of ctranslate2 (This can be done with pip install --force-reinstall ctranslate2==3.24.0 or specifying the version in a requirements.txt).

There are multiple ways to install the NVIDIA libraries mentioned above. The recommended way is described in the official NVIDIA documentation, but we also suggest other installation methods below.

Other installation methods (click to expand)

Note: For all these methods below, keep in mind the above note regarding CUDA versions. Depending on your setup, you may need to install the CUDA 11 versions of libraries that correspond to the CUDA 12 libraries listed in the instructions below.

Use Docker

The libraries (cuBLAS, cuDNN) are installed in these official NVIDIA CUDA Docker images: nvidia/cuda:12.0.0-runtime-ubuntu20.04 or nvidia/cuda:12.0.0-runtime-ubuntu22.04.

Install with pip (Linux only)

On Linux these libraries can be installed with pip. Note that LD_LIBRARY_PATH must be set before launching Python.

pip install nvidia-cublas-cu12 nvidia-cudnn-cu12

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=`python3 -c 'import os; import nvidia.cublas.lib; import nvidia.cudnn.lib; print(os.path.dirname(nvidia.cublas.lib.__file__) + ":" + os.path.dirname(nvidia.cudnn.lib.__file__))'`

Note: Version 9+ of nvidia-cudnn-cu12 appears to cause issues due its reliance on cuDNN 9 (Faster-Whisper does not currently support cuDNN 9). Ensure your version of the Python package is for cuDNN 8.

Download the libraries from Purfview's repository (Windows & Linux)

Purfview's whisper-standalone-win provides the required NVIDIA libraries for Windows & Linux in a single archive. Decompress the archive and place the libraries in a directory included in the PATH.


The module can be installed from PyPI:

pip install faster-whisper
Other installation methods (click to expand)

Install the master branch

pip install --force-reinstall "faster-whisper @"

Install a specific commit

pip install --force-reinstall "faster-whisper @"



from faster_whisper import WhisperModel

model_size = "large-v3"

# Run on GPU with FP16
model = WhisperModel(model_size, device="cuda", compute_type="float16")

# or run on GPU with INT8
# model = WhisperModel(model_size, device="cuda", compute_type="int8_float16")
# or run on CPU with INT8
# model = WhisperModel(model_size, device="cpu", compute_type="int8")

segments, info = model.transcribe("audio.mp3", beam_size=5)

print("Detected language '%s' with probability %f" % (info.language, info.language_probability))

for segment in segments:
    print("[%.2fs -> %.2fs] %s" % (segment.start, segment.end, segment.text))

Warning: segments is a generator so the transcription only starts when you iterate over it. The transcription can be run to completion by gathering the segments in a list or a for loop:

segments, _ = model.transcribe("audio.mp3")
segments = list(segments)  # The transcription will actually run here.

Faster Distil-Whisper

The Distil-Whisper checkpoints are compatible with the Faster-Whisper package. In particular, the latest distil-large-v3 checkpoint is intrinsically designed to work with the Faster-Whisper transcription algorithm. The following code snippet demonstrates how to run inference with distil-large-v3 on a specified audio file:

from faster_whisper import WhisperModel

model_size = "distil-large-v3"

model = WhisperModel(model_size, device="cuda", compute_type="float16")
segments, info = model.transcribe("audio.mp3", beam_size=5, language="en", condition_on_previous_text=False)

for segment in segments:
    print("[%.2fs -> %.2fs] %s" % (segment.start, segment.end, segment.text))

For more information about the distil-large-v3 model, refer to the original model card.

Word-level timestamps

segments, _ = model.transcribe("audio.mp3", word_timestamps=True)

for segment in segments:
    for word in segment.words:
        print("[%.2fs -> %.2fs] %s" % (word.start, word.end, word.word))

VAD filter

The library integrates the Silero VAD model to filter out parts of the audio without speech:

segments, _ = model.transcribe("audio.mp3", vad_filter=True)

The default behavior is conservative and only removes silence longer than 2 seconds. See the available VAD parameters and default values in the source code. They can be customized with the dictionary argument vad_parameters:

segments, _ = model.transcribe(


The library logging level can be configured like this:

import logging


Going further

See more model and transcription options in the WhisperModel class implementation.

Community integrations

Here is a non exhaustive list of open-source projects using faster-whisper. Feel free to add your project to the list!

  • faster-whisper-server is an OpenAI compatible server using faster-whisper. It's easily deployable with Docker, works with OpenAI SDKs/CLI, supports streaming, and live transcription.
  • WhisperX is an award-winning Python library that offers speaker diarization and accurate word-level timestamps using wav2vec2 alignment
  • whisper-ctranslate2 is a command line client based on faster-whisper and compatible with the original client from openai/whisper.
  • whisper-diarize is a speaker diarization tool that is based on faster-whisper and NVIDIA NeMo.
  • whisper-standalone-win Standalone CLI executables of faster-whisper for Windows, Linux & macOS.
  • asr-sd-pipeline provides a scalable, modular, end to end multi-speaker speech to text solution implemented using AzureML pipelines.
  • Open-Lyrics is a Python library that transcribes voice files using faster-whisper, and translates/polishes the resulting text into .lrc files in the desired language using OpenAI-GPT.
  • wscribe is a flexible transcript generation tool supporting faster-whisper, it can export word level transcript and the exported transcript then can be edited with wscribe-editor
  • aTrain is a graphical user interface implementation of faster-whisper developed at the BANDAS-Center at the University of Graz for transcription and diarization in Windows (Windows Store App) and Linux.
  • Whisper-Streaming implements real-time mode for offline Whisper-like speech-to-text models with faster-whisper as the most recommended back-end. It implements a streaming policy with self-adaptive latency based on the actual source complexity, and demonstrates the state of the art.
  • WhisperLive is a nearly-live implementation of OpenAI's Whisper which uses faster-whisper as the backend to transcribe audio in real-time.
  • Faster-Whisper-Transcriber is a simple but reliable voice transcriber that provides a user-friendly interface.

Model conversion

When loading a model from its size such as WhisperModel("large-v3"), the corresponding CTranslate2 model is automatically downloaded from the Hugging Face Hub.

We also provide a script to convert any Whisper models compatible with the Transformers library. They could be the original OpenAI models or user fine-tuned models.

For example the command below converts the original "large-v3" Whisper model and saves the weights in FP16:

pip install transformers[torch]>=4.23

ct2-transformers-converter --model openai/whisper-large-v3 --output_dir whisper-large-v3-ct2
--copy_files tokenizer.json preprocessor_config.json --quantization float16
  • The option --model accepts a model name on the Hub or a path to a model directory.
  • If the option --copy_files tokenizer.json is not used, the tokenizer configuration is automatically downloaded when the model is loaded later.

Models can also be converted from the code. See the conversion API.

Load a converted model

  1. Directly load the model from a local directory:
model = faster_whisper.WhisperModel("whisper-large-v3-ct2")
  1. Upload your model to the Hugging Face Hub and load it from its name:
model = faster_whisper.WhisperModel("username/whisper-large-v3-ct2")

Comparing performance against other implementations

If you are comparing the performance against other Whisper implementations, you should make sure to run the comparison with similar settings. In particular:

  • Verify that the same transcription options are used, especially the same beam size. For example in openai/whisper, model.transcribe uses a default beam size of 1 but here we use a default beam size of 5.
  • When running on CPU, make sure to set the same number of threads. Many frameworks will read the environment variable OMP_NUM_THREADS, which can be set when running your script:
Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "Faster Whisper" Project. README Source: SYSTRAN/faster-whisper
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