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Designers are Translators

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Designers might think of themselves as makers, researchers, or facilitators (amongst many other things). Beyond the mode of work, the thing that designers are good at is moving between things – and translating understandings between contexts.

If we think of designers as translators, we then have a better way of thinking through the choices designers have to make around their work.

Published in: Design

Designers are Translators

  1. 1. Designers are Translators Chris Marmo @kurisu
  2. 2. Trump and translation Source: Japan Times
  3. 3. “If we translated his words as they are, we would end up making ourselves sound stupid.” Kumiko Torikai
  4. 4. Source: Japan Times
  5. 5. “As an interpreter, your job is to translate the words of a speaker exactly as they are, no matter how heinous and what an outrageous liar you find the speaker to be. It’s a really tough thing, not being allowed to demonstrate your own judgment about what is right and what is wrong. And that’s why I quit.” Kumiko Torikai
  6. 6. ethical tensions Sanitisation Accuracy Believability Reality ValuesResponsibility UnemploymentEmployment
  7. 7. Translators make choices.
  8. 8. Yeah, but… design?
  9. 9. designers are translators.
  10. 10. designers do translation. designers are translators.
  11. 11. We interpret and communicate between contexts, communities and organisations.
  12. 12. designers are makers designers are facilitators designers are researchers
  13. 13. designers are makers designers are facilitatorsvs designers are researchers vs
  14. 14. designers are facilitators designers are researchers designers are makers
  15. 15. designers are facilitators designers are researchers designers are makers
  16. 16. designers are facilitators designers are researchers designers are makers Designers translate
  17. 17. facilitatingresearching making
  18. 18. Researching Making - What’s most important about what you’ve seen? - What people need to hear? - What’s the most effective way of communicating? - What ambiguity are you allowing, and why?
  19. 19. facilitatingresearching making
  20. 20. - Why are we communicating this here and now? - What might be lost in translation? - Where might misinterpretation happen? - How might this be used once I leave? - Am I OK with that? Making Facilitation
  21. 21. facilitatingresearching making
  22. 22. - What assumptions exist, and how might we tease them apart? - What is inaccurate or incomplete about our own understanding? - What about our client’s will we let shape our understanding? What shouldn’t we? - What knowledge or experience do we not have, that we might need? Facilitation Research
  23. 23. designers are facilitators designers are researchers designers are makers
  24. 24. designers are facilitators designers are researchers designers are makers
  25. 25. agency translation =
  26. 26. agency translation = = ethics
  27. 27. Translation gives us a way of thinking about the choices we make between modes of work.
  28. 28. Be deliberate – ask questions of yourself– so that you can communicate meaning with intent.
  29. 29. Translate to persuade the kinds of decisions you think are right.
  30. 30. Agency = Ethics
  31. 31. agency translation = = ethics
  32. 32. Questions?! chris@papergiant.net @kurisu @hellopapergiant www.papergiant.net

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