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.
RT
NPR

Rough Translation

From NPR

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.

Most Recent Episodes

Pavel Kuljuk's cat, Dora, sits in a window in eastern Ukraine. Pavel Kuljuk hide caption

toggle caption
Pavel Kuljuk

"As Russians approach his town, 'the cat must still be fed.'"

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.

Listen.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1113560958/1115480712" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Brandie Diamond stands by her FedEx Custom Critical truck in a Walmart Supercenter parking lot in Columbus, Ohio. Meg Vogel for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Meg Vogel for NPR

Alone@Work: Miles To Go Before I'm Me

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.

Listen.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1111259177/1111302642" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Author Chibundu Onuzo attends the Cliveden Literary Festival in 2021. David Levenson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
David Levenson/Getty Images

Ourselves@Work: Home Is Where The Hustle Is

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.

Ourselves@Work: Home Is Where The Hustle Is

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1110037614/1110060917" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Our personas at work are not what they used to be. Sarah Gonzales for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Sarah Gonzales for NPR

You're@Work: The Right Persona for the Job

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.

Listen.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1108568732/1108569011" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Founder of LEAP Africa Ndidi Nwuneli attends Barnard College's Global Symposium in 2015. J. Countess/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
J. Countess/Getty Images

Failing@Work: Epic Fails & Failure Epics

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.

Listen.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1106399772/1106717632" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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? Sarah Gonzales for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Sarah Gonzales for NPR

Stuck@Work: Your Country's Brand Is Escape, But You Can't

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?

Listen.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1105201154/1105281269" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Young women eat lunch in the Tuileries Garden in Paris in January 1929. Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Lunching@Work: When Eating at Your Desk Is Forbidden

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.

Listen.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1103566695/1103570637" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In China, overwork is common and exhaustion is socially acceptable. Those who opt out of the grind are seen as a threat. Sarah Gonzales for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Sarah Gonzales for NPR

Slackers@Work: A Song for the Exhausted

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?

Slackers@Work: A Song for the Exhausted

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1102281666/1102467511" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Sarah Gonzales for NPR hide caption

toggle caption

New Season: @Work. Starting June 1.

We're back @Work. The new season of Rough Translation will tell surprising stories from workplaces and work cultures around the world.

Listen.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1101048234/1101067547" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Office workers leave at the end of a working day in a mini business district in central Moscow on March 14, 2019. Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

The Good Russians

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.

Listen.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1095062649/1095068184" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
or search npr.org