September 11, 2018
Korea Institute of Design Promotion (KIDP), Korea Design Center
Subject Matter: Good Design Exhibition & Evaluation
A few days prior to the assignment, I reached out to the service provider for more information on the assignment, first by email, then followed up by phone. I was told that I was going to be assigned to an English-speaking judge at the design competition to facilitate communication. Thankfully, I was given a program brochure to go over the day before the event. It’s not always easy to get information, but knowing the subject matter can make or break the job, though not everyone understands that we need the context!
Commuting in Korea was so much more difficult than I had imagined. A wave of people really slowed my commute, so I ended up getting off the subway and taking a cab, only to find out that no taxi driver was motivated to take me there (only about 10-minute drive!). I was refused a ride five times even after I got into the cab!
I managed to arrive on time and met with Mr. Wolfs, a Professor at Kookmin University. We attended a prep meeting. Right after the meeting, three judges including two Korean professors and Mr. Wolfs were assigned to Section A with 650 products, mostly home appliances and electronics. The goal in the first round was to pass 75 products, which will then make it to the final round. Getting a pass requires two judges’ approval.
Accompanying Mr. Wolfs, we carefully looked at each item with critical eyes. This is what I normally do when I shop for home appliances anyway, so I couldn’t help but share some of my random thoughts, which he found quite helpful. At that point, I was wearing a hat of a picky consumer. 🙂
We had a few more meetings throughout the day. There were tensions at times when there was disagreement among the judges. I felt like I needed to be a good mediator, communicating everything clearly without offending anyone!
I didn’t think that we would be looking at these products until after 5 pm, but we actually did. After hours of talk and persuasion back and forth, we were able to select 75 products, finally! We also picked several mediocre ones from startup companies just to encourage them. Everyone seemed to be satisfied with their selection, and we took a photo together at the end to celebrate the good work.
Overall, it was an interesting experience. As an interpreter, we have the privilege of experiencing something new that we normally wouldn’t in our daily, mundane lives. We enter people’s lives for a brief period and gain so much insight from the experience. That is what I love the most about my job. When would I ever be interacting with these design experts again, and gain interesting perspectives, right?