I just taught a class to some designers visiting from Samsung Korea. As my first experience with an interpreter, I couldn’t help but laugh at the process a few times. Usually my sentence would result in a Korean sentence that was a little longer. But once in a while it was five times as long, and I had to wonder what the interpreter was really telling them. ‘This guy is saying such-and-such, but of course we know that’s wrong. Let’s just humor him.‘
I also realized that when someone is asking a question, even though he is speaking at the interpreter, he’s still talking to me and eye contact is still an important sign of respect (‘you listen with your eyes‘), even though we both acknowledge I don’t understand a word and instead I’m focusing on the interpreter.
But the more complicated social interaction didn’t distract me; the interpretation time actually allowed me additional moments in which to form my thoughts and pick clear, concise words.
Anyway, outside the classroom at Parsons were some student product design posters, including this great one about a desk that converts into a cot called Napple [pic1 | pic2 ]. It privides for both a hammack-like suspended fabric under the desk to lie on and a cover that folds down to give you privacy (inspired by Seinfeld?). The point is to allow for siestas at work instead of relying on less healthy caffiene uppers. It caught my eye because not too long ago I was having dinner with some folks discussing the secret little places we find at work to take naps.