A narrative journalism podcast that brings perspective-shifting stories from around the world
Peabody-award-winning correspondent Gregory Warner hosts Rough Translation, the new NPR podcast that explores how the ideas we talk about in the U.S. are being discussed somewhere else in the world.
Monday, August 7, 2017; Washington, DC — Even when we can use the same words, we can still have a hard time understanding each other across borders. NPR's newest podcast, Rough Translation, explores how the ideas we talk about in the U.S. — love, racial inequality and facts — are being discussed somewhere else in the world.
Hosted by NPR international correspondent Gregory Warner, Rough Translation aims to leave our echo chambers and see familiar topics in a fresh light. From a Ukrainian battlefield to a Somali prison cell, an Indian yoga studio to a Syrian refugee's first date, Warner tells stories that follow familiar conversations into unfamiliar territory. The show examines how life experiences and cultures shape those conversations. Listeners will experience a shift in perspective that allows them to connect with other people trying to make sense of the world.
"In some ways, the world can feel flatter and less foreign than it ever has," says Warner. "You can travel to some remote village and find someone selling 7 Habits of Highly Successful People from her kiosk while checking Beyoncé videos on her smartphone. But even when we're trying to have a conversation about the same thing, we're all seeing it from different perspectives."
The podcast will feature stories from correspondents in NPR's 17 international bureaus around the world, touching on the experience of trying to navigate different cultural rules and figuring out where you stand.
"At a time when most other news organizations have cut back on international reporting, NPR has doubled down on telling stories across borders and around the world," says Anya Grundmann, NPR's Vice President for Programming and Audience Development. "Rough Translation will give us a chance to go beyond the headlines to meet people and explore situations that challenge the assumptions we make about the world and our own culture."
The third episode, about how our desire for powerful stories fuels an unsettling market for woe in the Democratic Republic of Congo, will be featured on WNYC's Radiolab on Monday, August 28.
"This is different. This is sly," say Radiolab's Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. "This show tells you that when reporters travel to new and distant places, they bring their old eyes, their old ears, and sometimes they miss what's smack dab in front of them. Rough Translation is funny, smart and — most of all — an eye opener. (Make that ear-opener.)"
The podcast's first season will debut on Monday, August 14. Find weekly episodes on NPR One and wherever podcasts are available. The show was incubated in the NPR StoryLab, which, among other things, provides newsroom staff with the resources to pilot podcasts and other innovative content.
As host of Rough Translation, Gregory Warner draws on his previous role as NPR's East Africa correspondent. His reports covered the diverse issues and voices of a region that is experiencing unparalleled economic growth as well as a rising threat of global terrorism. He was part of the NPR team that earned a George Foster Peabody Award for its early and exceptionally deep coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Warner has filed stories from around the world for Planet Money, This American Life and Radiolab, and has given talks about how to effectively use translated tape in radio stories (no subtitles). His radio and multimedia work has won awards from Edward R Murrow, New York Festivals, AP, PRNDI, and a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists.
NPR's rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day—on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public—one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners consider public radio an enriching and enlightening companion; they trust NPR as a daily source of unbiased independent news, and inspiring insights on life and the arts. More information at npr.org/aboutnpr and following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram.
Isabel Lara and Allyssa Pollard, NPR Media Relations