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Translated by Sheng-Hung Lee, 2023.
| Dieter Rams: The Complete Works |

2023 ─ Industrial Design Paradigm Shift: Reflection on Translating Dieter Rams Portfolios ─ DesignWanted, November 2, 2023 [ article | pdf ]
In the 21st century, with environmental crisis, energy constraints, war, disruptive population shifts, climate change, aging issues, and many more social-technological challenges, can we propose 10 new principles of good design in the face of complicated, systemic challenges? This article synthesizes my thoughts and shares my reflections. All the sweat paid off when I received the Chinese version of the Dieter Rams’ portfolio. It is also the first version of Dieter Rams’ portfolio in Traditional Chinese. The mix of excitement and bitterness from this design translation adventure makes me want to share this article with five key learnings:

  1. From ID as Industrial Design to New ID as Integrated Design
  2. From D as Design to New D as Data
  3. Diversity, Ethics, and Inclusiveness (DEI) in Design
  4. Complexity and Change Are the New Norm
  5. From Designing Products for People to Building Platforms for Systems
Design can exist in many different formats to express creative ideas. Let’s think about design for language or consider translation as a type of new design, such as design for communication, for knowledge transfer, and for understanding associated with different languages. Recently, I unlocked a new design skill, design for language and translation, by asking myself: How sensitive are you to reading or mastering words? How do you express your feelings and thoughts through writing and translation? How do you communicate precisely and vividly through words and sentences?

I am very honored to translate the book—Dieter Rams: The Complete Works—by Klaus Klemp, from English to Traditional Chinese. I was invited by Faces Publications to collaborate with Emily Liu, Chief Editor of Faces Publications, and Wang Zhihong, Curator, Art and Designer Director of Faces Publications SOURCE series, and member of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale). After eight months of hard work with a team effort, I found that translation was not an easy job or a typical design project for me, not because I am not trained as a professional translator with expertise, but because the challenge and beauty lie in translating design processes, creative solutions, and historical backgrounds through Traditional Chinese characters in an Eastern context. How could I pick the right characters in the right cultural context while generating the right meaning and mental images for readers’ perceptions.

Check the full article in my DesignWanted column ─ Industrial Design Paradigm Shift: Reflection on Translating Dieter Rams Portfolios [
article | pdf ]

Dieter Rams: The Complete Works
Authors: Klaus Klemp and Dieter Rams
Chinese Translator: Sheng-Hung Lee
Acquisition Editor and Designer: Wang Zhihong

EN version published by Phaidon Press [ ISBN: 9781838661533 | book ]
CH version published by Faces Publications [ ISBN: 9786263153691 | book | pdf ]
Photo Credit: Allen Chang
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