Rough Translation

Rough Translation

Our expectations of work are changing. Whether you're a cubicle-dweller, side gig hustler, or blue-collar breadwinner, we're all experiencing some major changes to the idea of what a workplace should look and feel like. Can the culture of work change too? In this latest season of Rough Translation, we'll be traveling the globe to see how people are shifting their relationship to their jobs. From the mysterious man who inspired a "slacker revolution" in China to an American trans woman trucker changing the rules of the road, and from to the new codes of small talk in the Brazilian metaverse, to the ways that a war can change how Ukrainians look at work (and how work can change how they see a war). We explore what happens when international workplace norms are challenged both by local customs and homegrown rule-breakers.

Episodes

August 3, 2022 39 min
A hyperlocal news site in Red Hook, N.Y. posts a job opening. A journalist in Ukraine applies. And what readers think of as "local news" is going to change dramatically.
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726 miles in one day. Gas station sushi. Mysterious loading docks. We hit the road with two American women who found long-haul trucking as a means of escape and self-transformation.
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Nigerian novelist Chibundu Onuzo dreams of returning to Lagos, but she worries she'll struggle to adapt in the city of her birth, where the word "oppressor" is often used as a compliment. In this episode, she seeks advice from her "big boss" older brother.
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Who are you at work? In this episode, two stories of people who really commit to embodying their work selves. The result? New realms and new personalities.
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Many of us think we can't share our stories of failure until we've reached success. Some Mexico City entrepreneurs started a club to change that, and the world took notice.
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When Portugal forbade bosses from contacting employees after hours, international media jumped at the chance to cover the new law. Portuguese workers were oddly quiet. Why?
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In 2021, France suspended a law that forbids eating lunch at work. We talk to an American teacher relieved to see it go and a French historian determined to bring it back.
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A video ricochets across Chinese offices, and a scooter thief becomes an icon for brewing discontent. Why is a thief who says he's tired of working viewed by the Chinese state as such a threat?
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We're back @Work. The new season of Rough Translation will tell surprising stories from workplaces and work cultures around the world.
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April 27, 2022 20 min
Hundreds of thousands of Russians are leaving Russia. They're facing an uncertain welcome abroad. Poet and writer Linor Goralik joins us to read from "Exodus 22," her uncomfortably frank conversations with Russians who – before the war – lived in a Westernized bubble, ignoring the mounting threats of Putin's regime. Then, the bubble burst.
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April 15, 2022 17 min
What can a blank piece of paper, four ballerinas, a scarf and snuff box mean in Russia? A conversation with Russian Anthropologist Alexandra Arkhipova about how anti-war protestors resist the war in Ukraine through code and hidden messages.
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March 30, 2022 15 min
When Naira calls her parents back home in Russia to talk about the war in Ukraine, they treat her as an outsider and a threat. She finds a way to break through the propaganda wall, with inspiration from a chain letter.
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March 15, 2022 40 min
When protecting a language is used as justification for war, how can its speakers fight back? A conversation with Russian speakers of the diaspora who are rethinking their relationship to language, identity, and the Russian community.
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March 2, 2022 31 min
Vladimir Putin joined the KGB at age 23. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy got his early training in a no less Soviet institution–the world of competitive comedy. We update our 2019 episode about a high-stakes comedy competition in Ukraine.
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The past few years have shaken the fundamental ways we live. It's... disorienting. But it's also an opportunity to reexamine how we spend our time. In this episode from TED Radio Hour, speakers investigate evolving notions of what it means to pay our bills.
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December 22, 2021 43 min
A jazz dance born in Harlem in the 1920s ends up in a tiny Swedish town. What happens when Black dancers try to bring the Lindy Hop home?
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December 15, 2021 41 min
An Irish journalist discovers she belongs in a place she's never been. A 6-year-old boy decides he's from another country. Stories about finding home far from home.
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December 8, 2021 33 min
You can zoom around the world through sight and sound, but you can't taste at a distance, right? Stories about what happens when we try.
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July 9, 2021 49 min
Marla kept a detailed account of Iraqi civilians harmed by war. How did she recruit people in the U.S. military to help them? And what toll did it take on her?

Part 2 of the story of Marla Ruzicka. You can find Part 1 here.
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June 30, 2021 34 min
Marla Ruzicka didn't belong in a war zone. Nobody in Afghanistan knew what to make of her. Until Marla started to solve a problem that no one thought could be solved.
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