Rough Translation

Rough Translation


How are the things we're talking about being talked about somewhere else in the world? Gregory Warner tells stories that follow familiar conversations into unfamiliar territory. At a time when the world seems small but it's as hard as ever to escape our echo chambers, Rough Translation takes you places.


Liberté, Égalité, French Fries... And Couscous

Our favorite McDonald's in Marseille, France has reached its afterlife. It took court cases, spray paint, and the slogan you know turned upside down (literally) to get there.
07/04/2150m 11s

"We Already Belong": A Conversation With R.O. Kwon

In the wake of the shootings in Atlanta, a Korean-American writer reconnects with her own family.
26/03/2126m 43s

Welcome To The Vaccination Club

Two very different approaches to wooing vaccine skeptics. And how a little FOMO can go a long way.
10/03/2121m 51s

Rewriting The Travel Guidebook With Nanjala Nyabola

What happens when your guidebook isn't written with you in mind? Nanjala Nyabola on her new book: Travelling While Black.
25/02/2127m 15s

Boxing Back

Your stories and creative solutions to not quite fitting in.
10/02/2127m 59s

Our Boxes, Ourselves

From Montréal to Edinburgh, and from São Paulo to Taipei: your stories about belonging, or longing to just be.
27/01/2127m 20s

We (Still) Don't Say That

France is the place where for decades you weren't supposed to talk about someone's blackness, unless you said it in English. Today, we're going to meet the people who took a very French approach to change that.
16/12/2050m 38s

Presenting 'It's Been A Minute': White Supremacy And Its Online Reach

For close to a year, Talia Lavin went undercover in white supremacist online communities, creating fake personas that would gain her access to the dark reaches of the internet normally off-limits to her, a Jewish woman. That research laid the groundwork for her book, Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy. Lavin talks to It's Been A Minute host Sam Sanders about what it was like to infiltrate those online spaces, what she learned, and how white supremacy cannot exist without anti-Semitism.
09/12/2029m 25s

Welcome To The New World

What can a young refugee who's survived a war teach a novelist about writing young adult adventure?
25/11/2033m 26s

All Eyes On US

Just because you can't vote, doesn't mean you're not watching. We crisscross the globe to understand how people see their fates and fortunes in the aftermath of the 2020 U.S. election.
12/11/2039m 9s

Presenting 'Louder Than A Riot': Lyrics On Trial

On this bonus drop, we feature an episode from the NPR podcast Louder Than A Riot called "Lyrics on Trial."
06/11/2034m 0s

Radical Rudeness

After a Ugandan scholar is suspended from her university job, she discovers a new tool for resistance: extreme public rudeness. Will it work against a strongman president?
28/10/2046m 7s

The Loneliness Of The Climate Change Christian

What if more evangelical Christians in the United States fought climate change with the same spirit they bring to the issue of abortion? We go back to a surprisingly recent period when that happened.
14/10/2036m 52s

How To Be An Anti-Casteist

How does India's caste system play out in the hiring practices of Silicon Valley? And what happens when dominant caste people in the U.S. grapple with their own inherited privilege for the first time?
30/09/2034m 7s

Dream Boy And The Poison Fans

A Chinese idol had millions of fans who adored him for his kindness and good looks. Then, this February, one group of fans accused another of violating their image of him. What happens is a lesson in morality and revenge, love and hate, and how these feelings are weaponized on the internet.
16/09/2036m 59s

New Season: School of Scandal... Coming Sept. 16

We're back with a special series, Rough Translation's "School of Scandal," stories about people around the world calling each other out and taking each other down to change the status quo.
09/09/201m 39s

El Hilo: Walking To Venezuela

One man's mission to get hundreds of his fellow Venezuelans back home from Ecuador in a pandemic, even if it means walking all 1,300 miles. This story was originally reported for El Hilo, a new podcast from the makers of NPR's Radio Ambulante.
22/07/2030m 59s

Hello, Neighbor

Ireland's "cocooning" policy during the coronavirus lockdown asked people over age 70 to stay at home and not to leave for any reason. Suddenly, neighbors and strangers leapt to help them with everything — if the cocooners would let them.
08/07/2024m 3s

So Long, Black Pete

Resolving conflict through consensus is a very Dutch tradition. But how do you compromise when it comes to racism? This week on Rough Translation, the controversial Dutch character Black Pete, and how Black Lives Matter may have helped change the holiday season in the Netherlands forever.
24/06/2030m 38s

The Global Legacy of George Floyd

Five personal stories from five continents on the global impact of George Floyd.
10/06/2029m 32s

From Niqab To N95

The French republic "lives with her face uncovered," say the posters. But now face masks are mandatory. We look back at why covering your face in France used to be a sign of bad citizenship, until it wasn't.
27/05/2020m 44s

Hotel Corona

One hundred and eighty recovering COVID-19 patients. One Jerusalem hotel. Secular, religious, Arabs, Jews, old, young. Their phones are out, they're recording. And the rest of Israel is... tuning in.
13/05/2034m 26s

American Surrogate: 30 Months Later

Back in 2017, we brought you the story of a Chinese mom who hired an American surrogate to carry her baby. Each needed something from the other that was hard to admit. Their relationship became a crash course in transcontinental communication and the meaning of family. Now, in the middle of a pandemic, we check in with them.
29/04/2047m 31s

The Coronavirus Guilt Trip

Public shame is a powerful tool. But how useful is it when trying to curb a global pandemic? Shaming stories from South Korean chat rooms, a Pakistani street corner, and a Brooklyn grocery store.
17/04/2026m 37s

WeChats From The Future

She felt the urgency before her husband did. A story about the time lag between the arrival of the coronavirus in two different nations, and how that played out in a marriage
02/04/2022m 11s

How Covid-19 Is Challenging Cultures

This week on Rough Translation, we check in with NPR international correspondents in China, Germany and Greece about the ways that culture shapes—and is reshaped by—responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
19/03/2022m 20s

The Original Sin Of Li Jiabao

A young Chinese exchange student in Taiwan with no history of activism posts a video criticizing China's president Xi Jinping on Twitter, then asks for asylum. His request for protection fuels a larger discussion about Taiwan's role as a haven for Chinese dissidents, and also raises questions about who he is as an individual and his motivations. Who is he, and can he be trusted?
26/02/2025m 16s

Rough Translation Presents: Throughline

This week, we present the latest episode of NPR's Throughline, a look at the life and complicated legacy of the assassinated Iranian military leader, Qassem Soleimani.
29/01/2052m 38s

Whose Ukraine Is It Anyway?

Please, take our survey! At a Ukrainian comedy competition founded by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, can humor unite a divided country?
04/12/1928m 27s

Ukraine: Race Against The Machine

In the country on the other side of the impeachment hearings... A comedian runs for president of Ukraine and wins in a landslide, with a parliamentary majority to pass any law he wants. So now what? Our host, Gregory Warner, reports from Kyiv.
20/11/1918m 48s

Preview: Rough Translation In Ukraine

Listen to hear a preview of a special two-part episode about Ukraine, reported by Gregory Warner.
13/11/191m 21s

Mom In Translation

For our season finale, a listener's story: When a six-year-old boy adopts Tokyo as his new home, his American mom has to figure out where she belongs in her son's new life.If you want to share your story, email
02/10/1928m 31s

Liberté, Égalité And French Fries

What happens when the employees of a French McDonald's take the corporate philosophy so deeply to heart, that it actually becomes a problem for the company? To listen to more Rough Translation, check out our previous episodes.
19/09/1945m 6s

When We Talk About Love

We visit a storytelling podcast from China that slips under the radar of China's government censors, and other international podcast stories about the search for love.
04/09/1939m 49s

Brazil In Black And White: Update

Two radically different ways of seeing race come into conflict in Brazil, provoking a national conversation about who is Black? And who is not Black enough? We revisit our first ever Rough Translation episode, with an update on how the election of an anti-affirmative action president is affecting the debate. If you want to see a photo of the medical school students:
21/08/1932m 44s

The Mind Of The Mark

If you're the kind of person who thinks you can't be conned, that assumption may make it harder for you to recognize when you actually are being scammed. We speak with professional poker player and author Maria Konnikova about how con-artists get inside the stories we all tell ourselves, about ourselves. Then we go to an international multimillion dollar scam in Costa Rica, where a master of the con meets his match... the IT guy.
07/08/1936m 13s

What Would Jesus Drive?

What if more evangelical Christians in the United States fought climate change with the same spirit they bring to the issue of abortion? In this episode, we go back to a surprisingly recent period when that nearly happened. We meet two evangelicals who made it their mission to bridge the divide between Christians and environmentalists. What happened, and why they say the best way to start conversations about the planet is with readings of the bible.For photos and links: us:
24/07/1936m 21s

When Failure Is A 4-Letter Word

On today's episode, entrepreneurs around the world are trying to redefine how their societies perceive failure, by doing the scariest thing possible: standing up in public and admitting their mistakes. Links to more stories: us your story: #ShareYourFailure (
11/07/1930m 0s

The Search: Part 2

A fragile alliance begins to fracture, as a romantic photo of Kamaran resurfaces. Ahmed confronts his family. And Sebastian meets with ISIS. * Note: This story contains strong language and sounds of war.
20/06/1946m 38s

The Search: Part 1

When a journalist goes missing in Iraq, his friends and family have to figure out a rescue plan. * Note: This story contains strong language and sounds of war.
12/06/1941m 48s

The Man Who Sedated Eichmann

The capture of Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann was one of Israel's proudest moments. But the doctor at the center of the spy operation refused to talk about his role — even with his family. Today, his children ask why.
29/05/1931m 34s

How to Speak Addiction

A daughter — and reporter — discovers an uncomfortable truth about her mother's alcoholism. She travels to the other side of the world to find out if there's a better way to treat addiction.
15/05/1934m 13s

We Don't Say That

France is the place where for decades you weren't supposed to talk about someone's blackness, unless you said it in English. Today, we're going to meet the people who took a very French approach to change that. (Note: This story contains strong language in English and French.)
01/05/1943m 52s

D.I.Y. Mosul

Fed up with government inaction, young people start rebuilding Mosul on their own. But in post-ISIS Iraq, volunteering can quickly become an act of rebellion.
17/04/1939m 46s

New season: The Rebels. Starting April 17

We've traveled far away to bring you stories that hit close to home. This season, we follow people who break the rules and challenge what's normal, wherever they are.
10/04/191m 53s


Two sisters attempt to use a 19th century novelist to outwit modern Pakistani restrictions on women. And a war reporter discovers the power of drawing room comedy to understand her own family. (And warning: This episode has explicit language.)
11/07/1847m 55s

War Poems

Taliban poetry. An Afghan cooking show. The US military needs a better weapon. Up comes the perfect person for the job.
03/07/1847m 55s


A trashy daytime talk show in Argentina does the unthinkable. It becomes a forum for feminism. How this happened and what it changed.
29/06/1834m 0s

Ukraine vs. Fake News

Today, we revisit an episode from last season. Fake news from Russia helped spark a real war in Ukraine. What can Ukraine's fight against fake news teach the US?
27/06/1828m 17s

Ghana's Parent Trap

Kids are starting school at younger and younger ages. This week, one country's bold experiment to change how it teaches young children. And why it had to hide that change from their parents.
20/06/1837m 22s

The Apology Broker

We trace the journey of an apology, from Japan to the U.S., that got an unlikely broker. Along the way, she had to work out: what a sorry is, who it's for, and what makes it stick.
13/06/1841m 30s

Coming June 13th

The award-winning podcast returns with five original stories about people trying to cross a bridge from one worldview to another, even when everyone's telling them you can't get there from here
05/06/182m 30s

The Refugee's Dating Coach

A Syrian refugee in Berlin hopes to find love but is stumped by German dating codes and is terrified of crossing the line between flirting and harassing. A professional 'flirt coach' steps in to be his guide. (For photos of Sophia and Aktham:
25/09/1739m 58s

Om Alone In India

A day of yoga in the US. A yoga war in India. A court case in California and why the Indian government is watching it. A story about the poses that bind us. (Tell us about yourself. Fill out our survey:
18/09/1732m 18s

Anna In Somalia

A man is trapped in a remote prison. And he's trapped in his own mind. Until he hears a knock on the wall.... and words from another time and place.
12/09/1731m 42s

American Surrogate

A Chinese mom hires an American surrogate to carry her baby. Each needs something from the other that is hard to admit. The next 9 months will be a crash course in transcontinental communication. And the meaning of family.
05/09/1742m 37s

The Congo We Listen To

It made headlines worldwide: Hundreds of women raped in one Congolese village. But when one researcher arrives in town, something feels off. (Note: This episode contains descriptions of violence.)
28/08/1741m 26s

Ukraine vs. Fake News

Fake news from Russia helped spark a real war in Ukraine. What can Ukraine's fight against fake news teach the US?
21/08/1729m 27s

Brazil In Black And White

Two radically different ways of seeing race come into sudden conflict in Brazil, provoking a national conversation about who is Black? And who is not Black enough?
14/08/1732m 23s

Coming August 14th

Travel with us. Each week we go to a new country to hear a story that says something about what's happening in the United States. Subscribe now.
04/08/173m 28s
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