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Posts: 60
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 12:03 pm
Location: Lille - North of France


Postby gregoire » Fri May 16, 2008 9:46 pm

Barunka Molnarova taking minutes.

We need to decide on a person who will go to the Kiev EPA in (6-7-8 June) to follow the programme process (linguistic needs) and contact eastern european language groups (outreach). This person will not be in a booth but member of the organization panel.
Babels envoyee will prepare a contribution about Babels and interpretation to be prensented during the EPA, he/she will intervene in EPA and discuss Babels position there as well as follow the logistics being put in place (programme group meeting the day before the EPA). It will be an opportunity to express what worked and what did not in the past and what we are doing, what we did and what we will do. It will help restore some visibility to Babels. After the EPA, the Babels envoyee will have to write a report and publish it on the Babels forum and list. Gregoire insists on that aspect, too many meeting where nobody knows what was discussed or decided because nobody followed up with a report.
• Gregoire will contact the Kiev OC (Ukraine social forum : <> to see if they are OK to include a Babelista in the travel budget for this forum)
Barunka would be the ideal person, but she is working on that weekend. So who else ? There will be members of the Nordic OC present (Sophie ? Ola ?) but they will be busy with other issues and cannot act as Babels representative.
Rodrigo would be available on those dates.
Ali Otoman is going, but as Turkish Social Forum (and he will be interpreting).
We need to decide on a person to go and propose her to the list. Once the horizontal Babels community has approved, we ask for this person to be included in the ESF EPA budget. If they do not want to take charge of the ticket, can we use another budget ? Malmö ESF ? Knowledge transmission fund ?
Sunday discussion, budget for meetings.
Babels should have a meeting with Organizations, trade unions to talk to them about Babels, to be prepared before the Forum.
Sophie can offers to create babels report, decide upon it!!!.

Babels meeting again in Stocholm to be sent to the list to discuss? Think about it! After EPA and after merging so that we concrete information.

There is a interpreting school in Kiev, so we should take advantage of the EPA to arrange contact with Kiev university and mobilize volunteers there. Problem, the university is closed on weekends, so the Babels delegate would have to stay longer / come earlier and arrange a meeting with interpreters from Ukraine/Russia etc.
This again raises the issue of who is going to the Kiev EPA.
To ensure a presence of Eastern Europe, we need to reactivate the volunteers that had signed up for the previous ESFs (Paris, Athens..). Each of us needs to contact people in the various countries. For example Grégoire is still in contact with the polish coordinators (Karol, David).
• Let us set up a chain of contacts. Each of us takes charge of contacting someone in the database to see if they would be willing to mobilize, coordinate interpreters from their country :
• Julie : Romania
• Greg : Poland, Turkey, Russia (Elena coordinator from St Petersburg ???), Latvia
• Rodrigo : Romania, Lithuania, Ukraine - if going to EPA?
• Graziela : Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia.
• Barunka : Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia
• Lina : Russia
• Sophie : to check if (Igor and Anastasia) Russian coordinators have other contacts than the previous ones that were somewhat problematic (we had an issue with a russian coordinator and would prefer to avoid this), also Balkans,

Sophie explains the Visa issue. Costs are huge because there is a mandatory Health insurance to be provided, Sophie went to Stockholm to meet with insurance companies and is negociating on many other issues.
After sometime we will know what possible visa and insurance problems. Sophie working on Visa problems, need of political contacts. Trade Unions to help with this.
100 are estimated coming from Ukraine, Moldavia and Belarus, 150 estimated from Russia. 200/300 from Turkey. We need to contact and mobilize to see if we can get interpreters in those groups.
Sophie can provide estimations (from Nordic OC) given by delegations about how many people are planned to come, even from countries not requiring Visas.
Politics to be taken into account, in the past, problems with interpreters who had their tickets booked/visa fee paid but did not get visas, waste of money. Maybe Get insurance to reimburse tickets that are booked but not used in the end.
We need to inform the attendees of the forum (delegations) that there are possibilities for all languages if we are told in advance - if someone needs a langauge that is not in the list, then they can request.
In July, we need to inform organizers what languages we offer !

We do not have time and strength to mobilize people, Nordic OC should do this. Sophie can still inform and ask for abstracts and also then tell about interpreters and Babels and also encourage organizations to come and tell us what they need, so tell them we EXIST!
EPA will be the place to do so, PREPARATION NEEDED.
How to mobilize interpreters through organizations and also inform participants of the possibility
• Rodrigo for mobilization in Finland, interpreters and contact with Finnish Social Forum. Babels Nordic to be developed.
• Julie to send information about how to get babelitos from participants. Julie sends to Sophie who sends to Ola. Text to include : do you know people in your organization? Then register in Babels.
Francisco Contreras : I will first show you the general budget estimate and then the specific Babels budget.
General budget slide.
Total cost estimate is 1 573 700 Euros, but since we don't know if we can have as much, we have also done a minimum estimate that sums up to a total or 935 000 Eur.
Break up : ALIS : 160 200 Euros (minimum 86 000) and Babels : 160 000 Euos (minimum Babels 108 000) - plus other things that are financed in the Logistics section (food, volunteer costs..).
Estimated revenues : 250 000 in participation fees (we expect around 13 000 participants)
Julie: We know from all previous forums that there is never any cash flow before the Forum. But if we start to mobilize and ask people to buy tickets in advance (in June) it will be impossible for some people to advance the money three months in advance. So we need to discuss the availability of funding before the forum.
Francisco : we will have incomes before the forum, some of the money we have already and we are applying for grants - lots of things we are going to pay afterwards so we will have money available. Malmö and Trade Unions have already pledged 425 000, we are expecting more grants from EU and others
Gregoire : in any case try to have prepaid tickets as much as possible, it makes things easier.
Sophie : The money issue is organized like this. We agree on a budget, we present it to the board who agrees it (or not). Then, we have to engage funds, we make a request to the board for a specific amount, the board takes an economic decision and agrees the expense, gives a green light so we can go ahead. It is our frame, and we are free to spend it.
Francisco : I want to discuss some of the specifics of the Babels budget :
• 600 babelistas
• Seminars / conferences
• Simulation / preparatory "camp"
• Information : Other Babels material (schedules, maps, t-shirt)
• ESF bag
• Visas
• Transport to Malmö - not everyone by plane, busses from Poland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark
• Logistic (water/coffee/tea/fruit)
Rodrigo : To simplify transport, can we find out what delegations are coming by bus and get seats for interpreters.
Grégoire : It is not a good idea to have interpreters travel with delegations since they end up being captive of that delegation's schedule. They risk arriving after the forum start (and we plan to have meetings and trainings and registration the day before) and they must leave early because the bus leaves on saturday for instance (but we want interpreters to stay for final briefing or a last minute interpretation gig on Sunday for instance).
Julie : let's not exclude air transport all together and keep the mixed solution (train, bus but also plane). I would suggest that we budget the general preparation costs and get an autonomous budget from the ESF that we then manage, staying within the budget envelope. The train can be solution for some, the bus for others, but for UK flights are better... lets not be too rigid. Ask for a total budget and we manage the solutions within that envelope.
Barunka : if you are travelling from Budapest, a trip to Berlin costs as much as a flight to Copenhagen, so we have to mix the solution
Francisco : We can't give you the budget because we had some bad experiences in the past, some groups didn't manage their budget and ended up having spent it all before the forum. You have to come to us with an expense plan and we pay for what you is agreed upon. You need to give us a list of people broken down by country (10 people from Latvia, 40 from Poland, 50 from Turkey etc.) and we then provide you with the funds for transport.
Julie and Graziella : I'm proposing that we have a pre-event budget, an event budget, and a post-event budget. ESF gives us the agreed amount and we don't have to request for each expense.
Sophie : no that is not possible we request a fixed amount, it is OKed and then we will be able to spend what is agreed.
Rodrigo : I'm confused at this stage and don't know what to believe. In the previous discussion, Sophie was saying, "you will get money" and now Francisco is saying "you may not get the money that easily"...
Amelia : there is a difference in culture here. The way of negociation is different in Sweden than in France or Latin america. There are two types of approaches and Sophie is expressing the way it is done here in Sweden. You need to be aware of this...
Sophie : Babels does not have an account, so we can't manage an independent budget. We seek the best solution and we get the green light. Once we have that money, we can spend it the way we see fit.
Grégoire : From my past experience, I tend to be jumpy when I hear the words "green light", if we have to run to Francisco every time we need to make an expense it will not work because the "green light" is always too late and we are blocked.
Sophie : We need a lots of people working with budget and paying things fast. We don't have that. Francisco, you will be overstretched if you do all this - you will need to be six persons. Organize the transport, check tickets, buy them... it is a huge task.
Julie : I'm not sure I understood well. You say that you will be the person in the end taking care of the transportation of everyone ? If you have decision power then this is OK, if not, there will be a gap between the time the decision taken and the decision is actually implemented, meaning stree, loss of time, loss of money. In Athens we asked the people find the cheapest flights themselves (there was a capped limit) and then they had to get them validated by Lina who had decision power as long as the price staid within the limits that were decided... you need to set up a team, we need someone who can decide quckly.
Francisco : Babels will have to take charge of coordinating all travels.
Grégoire : Babels can only handle transportation if the ESF hires someone to work full time on this issue. Handling transportation issues for 600 people is a full time job for a month... just ask Lina who handled this in Athens.
Lina : I am volunteering to do this for the Malmö ESF. (Wide applause in the audience). I can come a month in advance. (Lina's participation, ticket, accomodation and per diem will be carried by the ESF ? Sophie needs to check this with the NOC)
Rodrigo : Budget link with transport, can this be done gradually ? We define a group of people that comes, we ensure their participation and agree with you on their travel costs… not wait until we have everyone.
Amelia : We have to discuss the question of the total amount that we can expect. Can we do with less ? If we don't get this amount, how far down can we go and still manage to get the job done
Sophie : we know we are not getting 100% of the ideal budget, but that does not mean it is not going to work, we have to identify the lines of our budget where we absolutely need to obtain the amount and the ones where we have some room for negociation.
Let us look at the breakdown of the Babels budget.
• Mobilisation in Nordic countries : 1 000 Eur
• Sitprep, Training : 2 000 Eur
• Training ALIS, Planning/ Maps : 6 200 Eur
• Meetings : 4 300 Eur - but maybe we need one meeting more. We only spent 2,500 euros on this meeting, so maybe we could have one more.
• Kiev : 1 300 Euros
• Travelcosts : 80 000 Eur + 4 800 extra saved on meetings
• Visas :
• Accomodation : about 6 Euros per night
• Food :
• Knowledge transmission fund :
• Other :
Amelia : do we reimburse travel costs for Sitprep sessions ? In Sweden travel is expensive. 15 Euros to come from the outskirts of Malmo by train or cross the Oresund.
Sophie : in Sweden, we can fund things via ABF - popular education. We should be able to get funding for training the interpreters through this organization.
Julie : you are going to have volunteers all over the country, not always efficient to go there or get everyone to come to Malmö before a selection has been made + some people show up to volunteer as interpreter and then realize it is not for them. Maybe send copies of DVD, do a preselection locally and then organize a meeting of all volunteers.
Meetings : We should organize two more Nordic meetings and one European meeting. Next meeting : End of June, beginning of July
Francisco : In the next meeting, we need to include two or three hours to discuss the finances in details, transport, lodging, logistics.
Julie : for me it is strategic to make it in July because by that time we will have finished the merging of the programme and pre-selection. We will know what we need in terms of transport and accomodation and can organize concretely these issues.
We also need to budget a participation of 4 persons from coordination going to Kiev. Sophie could be available, Rodrigo can go too, Barunka will try to come, Julie is not sure... Gregoire has volunteered via the Ukraine SF to come as interpreter but no answer yet. He will contact the Ukrainian coordinator. Who else ?
Julie : Travelcosts are about the same amount as for London so I am not too concerned about the exactness of this figure, the estimate seems realistic. I am more concerned about the possibility of having the money up front and not loose time and opportunities because the "green light" is tied up somewhere in the decision making process.
Lina : If we don't do prepaids and ask people to advance the travel costs, then they have to say in advance how much it will cost. We have to be strict in the reimbursements. In Athens, at first we were only reimbursing the plane ticket and then people also wanted to get reimbursed for other things like parking tickets etc.
Francisco : In these 600 Babelistas, how many come from Nordic countries ? Can we limit the transport budget here ?
Rodrigo : we are going for 300 local participants - but it requires much mobilization. Still we must not just look at language issues like in Athens where we only had 100 greek and had to get greek interpreters from London... here in Scandinavia we have people in various language combinations, like Spanish people living in Tampere for ex.
Amelia : The logistics issue can be organized to be cheaper. For instance, n one case we organized transport from the airport through private cars and it was cheaper than taxis.
Sophie : Logistics. We know that the minimum budget is not holding, so we have to reevaluate the budget, we have to reorganize and make a coutner proposal and defend it. If we have the argument, they have to accept it.
Julie : The NOC needs to commit to a final budget, sign it so we have certainty and don't risk suddenly ending up with only half the budget that was pledged.
Graziella : this happened in POA 2005, we have to put conditions saying if you don't meeth the budget, we can cut but only to a certain limit.
Julie : if NOC thinks our budget is too high, do we put a conditional ? do we put a deadline ? Do we say, if we don't get at least this, then we cannot work ?
Sophie : The NOC has pretty much validated the actual Babels budget. We need to work out a budgetary Plan B. I will fight for a realistic budget. We defend our actual budget, but if they disagree we discuss the budget again and elaborate a counter proposal.
Sophie will redo the budget. Next week Sophie sends the counter proposal to everyone on the Malmo list and after a week of public display, if there are no changes, the proposal will go to NOC.
We give a deadline to NOC, and then if it is agreed, Francisco will have the new budget and he will have to negotiate the working process and procurements.
Babels will have to define what is needed and how it is needed - time line and ten days before each leg we ask for money to be released.
Travelcosts : we have to argument and work with Lina to coordinate because the NOC will say that it is too high, we have to find solutions to spread the expenses over various budgets.

Knowledge Transmission Fund is usually 5% of total cost of the ESF. It is defined in the charter that money be set aside by one Social Forum to fund networking and Knowledge Transmission in the country where the next forum will be organized. It serves to pay for meetings, contacts etc. (check exact terms)
Julie : in the KTF from London, we still have about 2 000 pounds. It comes from the ESF towards the next ESF. It is in a bank account managed by the association pour le reseau babels in France. We need to see how we can organize to use this money for Malmö.
Sophie : I went to Paris to talk to them (Yann B, Philippe B. and Emmanuelle ) but they say that if they have to manage the money to pay receipts they will hire someone to do it and thus retain some of the money to pay for that person.
Grégoire : I'm a member of this association and I don't remember when this was decided. The association doesn't need to manage the money. The association can transfer the money and let the ESF manage it.
Julie : There is an issue with the transmission, if we spend the money that came from London ESF, then Malmö ESF will have to fund the next KTF for Istanbul. This must be decided in advance.
Francisco : We cannot ensure that money will be made available for the KTF for two reasons : 1) we need to know what an expense will be used for before we agree to it. 2) for legal reason we cannot budget a theoretical expense, we cannot say we take 5% and keep it for the next ESF in Turkey. That will never be agreed by the board. We have strict rules for the money.
Gregoire : in Paris the KTF was funded by an invoice from an association, billing services and the forum paid it, so it was OK - legaly and budgetwise.
Francisco : OK, technically we could maybe do it, but the board is going to ask me "what is Babels going to do with this money". Will this money be used for Babels meetings like this one ? Because right now it is the Malmo ESF who pays for this meeting and who will pay for the future ones. So if we want to handle this, we need to draft an action plan to convince the board.
Regarding the transfer of funds from SF to SF. Greece did not transfer money to us after the Athens ESF, all the money comes from Sweden right now. This will cause a problem, we will have a discussion on how much money we spend on things that are not directly ESF.
Thanos : It is not true that you did not profit from the KTF after the Athens ESF. You did get money from Greece, you got in the form of equipment and expertise from us.
Amelia : if the KTF is inscribed in the charter of principles, then we have nothing to discuss, we just have to find a technical way to organize a receipt for this money that will be acceptable for your accounting process. The discussion on whether we do it or not has taken place years ago. We need to find a way to process this funding. We will draft an action plan to explain to the board how we are going to use this money.
Anastasia : The OC does not recongnize the importance of the KTF. In Athens we had the KTF finance mobilization two years before the forum and initiate setup of a local coordination for Babels. I travelled to Granada thanks to that... after the Athens forums, the OC did not recognize the importance and now we are four months before the ESF, and there is no mobilization. And if we dont' set money aside then we will have no money to mobilize in Turkey after Malmö.
Amelia : I don't understand. We have big needs. We need to find 300 people in scandinavia and we are going to need money to find them. The whole process is not just negociating with the group, it is historical agreements which do not have to dsicuss, we need to only find a way to do it.
Sophie : There is no "charter police". If one ESF does not meet the requirements for KTF, nobody will punish. Babels has to fight for this fund. Francisco, in everything is agreed upon, how do we organize it ? After the Forum, how can we manage it ? Can the ESF pay an invoice to the association and put the money in a bank account ?
Julie : we need to inform the NOC about the Babels issues, explain the lingustic diversity issue, maybe use KTF to fund someone who can come and speak in front of the NOC.

9:45 Beginning of the session
Quick overview over the minutes from Saturday afternoon
Presentation of action points list elaborated by Gregoire. Action plan is a summary of yesterday’s minutes with details regarding the actions to be taken and the person responsible. Apart from that Gregoire and Julie propose to try to resuscitate Baboo as an instrument which could help to solve “last minute crisis” allowing complete restructuring of the booth planning.

Action points – main topics (see also the “Action points list”)
Babels space in the forum – Gregoire’s suggests that it should be Babels (not the logistic group) who should take the responsibility of organizing the chill out room logistics (snacks, water, photocopier...)
Working with Transtrad
ALIS Logistics
Babels activity within the forum – we talk about the possibility of having two slots. The first one dedicated to interpretation and translation activism. The second one dedicated, for example, to the problematic of saami.
Individual interpretation
Report on who is registered in the Malmo project
Babels representative at the Kiev EPA
Next Babels meeting – important is to guarantee the transparency of all Babels’ meetings so that the whole network has got the chance to follow the process and participate in it.

10:30- Mobilization and working tools

Sit Prep

Participants with experience in organizing SitPrep explain to Sophie and others how a SitPrep session can be organized. Rodrigo mentions the advantage of having a professional interpreter from the community helping during these sessions. Julie describes how SitPrep sessions were organized in London. All volunteers coming for a SitPrep were given an introductory text explaining the basic rules and categories of interpretation. Julie stresses how important is to “keep” volunteers who decide not interpret but still are willing to help, for example, as room coordinators.
Gregoire: “We should set up a working ALIS booth for the sit prep.”
Graziela: “It is important to make the SitPrep sessions attractive and motivating. It is important to offer to all who are willing to help as interpreters or translators interesting materials and texts from previous WSF and ESF so that they get familiar with the vocabulary.”
Rodrigo: “We should contact Judith Hitchman who could help with the organization of SitPreps. I can help as well. I have already prepared a sit prep session for Finnish. It is also possible to use current or future meetings (cabine mute during cultural or any other current event) as training for volunteer interpreters.”
Anastasia: Talks about how SitPrep sessions were organized in Athens. “We were abandoned by professional interpreters. We organized SitPrep sessions twice a week, collaborating with participants who could come and act as speakers.
Greg: “It is important to add Nordic languages in Lexicon.”
Thanos: “You can download real speeches (plus interpretations) from conferences and seminars from the 4thESF .” (http:/, - note the host server seems to be offline at the moment
Amelia: “Is it possible to train interpreters at current conferences and seminars?”
Julie: “We only have to make sure that we don’t offer free interpretation services” and make sure that in such cases interpreters are there JUST for the training.
Graziela: “We should try to contact with Maria Roussou. She could also help with the key words elaborated by Babels.”
Everyone agrees to wait till the merging process is finished and think about how lexicons could be used (waste of paper printing all lexicons out).
Rodrigo: “I could help with Finnish and Sophie with Swedish and Danish. We can contact Maria Brander and Maria Rousou. We should also mention Lexicons during the sit preps and use the opportunity to contact with people willing to help with translations.
Rodrigo: Are we going to have chief interpreters?
Greg: “It is definitely necessary to have room coordinators when working with 600 interpreters.”
Julie and Graziela explain how important it is that the room coordinators “know what they are doing”. Julie explains how room coordinators “functioned” in London (“we are the voices in your head, we are the network of volunteer interpreters”).
Julie and Graziela promise to look for room coordinators specifications and send them to Amelia and Sophie.
Greg: “The room coordinators don’t have to be “overspecialized”
Graziela: “They just need to know what they are doing. It is important to find a balance.
Greg: “The room coordinator is very important as a “stable factor” which takes care of the basic needs (water, making sure that the language combinations of the panel hasn’t changed etc.)
Julie: “We should look for a mixed solution – a coordinator who is not an interpreter but should be in contact with the interpreters solving relay problems.”
Rodrigo: “We have to find a pool of “double volunteer interpreters” (volunteer interpreters offering help with room coordination).
Graziela: “It is important to have a room coordinator also as a “tourist interpreters’ ” control.
Greg: “According to past experience, about 20% of interpreters are “tourist interpreters” which need to be monitored a bit - i.e. someone needs to check that they show up and scold them if they don't. If nobody monitors interpreters presence in the booth, then the system unravels, some interpreters "take it easy" and some interpreters "suffer" doing overtime in the booths.
Julie: “We could ask each room coordinator to write a short assessment after each session. For example, we have the possibility of making interpreters sign for each session.
Sophie: “Should we ask the volunteer coordinators to register in Babels?”
Lina: “In Athens Aleksei was collecting signatures from the interpreters who were supposed to be working”.
Graziela: “These topics should be discussed on the wiki page.”
Barunka: “I would like to add an action point. I want babelit@s to be responsible for the organization of “sound technical training” for interpreters interested in understanding more of the technical side of the equipment and troubleshooting.
Apart from that I think that we should start collecting data about arrogant and unpolite behaviour of interpreters who don’t know what solidarity is about.”
Thanos: “We could also arrange a “simulation slot” as a real 3hours event which would help all the interpreters to understand the functioning of the technical equipment.
Greg: “Could we not ask big organizations participating in the forum if they could help to find volunteer room coordinators?”

Greg: “Let's not forget that the database we are working on is relatively "old", and the data in it cannot be trusted 100%. Some language combinations are wrong, some emails adresses are dead, some volunteers are not available any more etc. etc.
So I would suggest we go for a mixed solution and select about 60-70% of people "we know" - that is people that we have seen perform and know to be efficient. That does not mean they have to be "professionals", simply that we have already seen them work during a previous forum or social interpretation event.. the remaining would then be "newcomers" and "unexperienced".
This would also allow to preselect and book people in advance - simply because we know them and can tell them to book their schedule and reserve their ticket in advance, when the prices are still low.
Time line to include pre- selection dates.
Julie and Graziela emphasize the danger of loosing horizontality not allowing the newcomers to come. “We should start with the pre-selection of , for example, German and Spanish booth in order to save costs.”
Amelia: “Who and how is the pre-selection going to be done? Nevertheless we should wait till the end of mobilization is done in Sweden.”
Rodrigo: “I don’t agree with the pre- selection of “big booth” starting outside Scandinavia. We will find enough people in Nordic countries.”
Graziela: “We can’t wait till the end of mobilization (end of August) because we have only four months till the beginning of the forum!”
Sophie: “We need to organize the next meeting of the working group.”
Rodrigo: “I don’t agree with the pre-selection outside Nordic countries.”
Discussion goes on about cost savings.
Greg: “I think that Babels Nordic Group should be able to try to get 50% interpreters from Nordic countries. Apart from that we should not believe the myth that everybody in Nordic countries speaks English.”
The next topic relates to a possibility of launching a next general call asking all Babels interpreters to update their data in the Babels database.
Julie: “I agree with a general call asking the interpreters to update their Babels data. A month later we could also ask all people on the Malmo project to update their information related to their professional level.
Julie: “As for the pre- selection I would like to start selecting interpreters based in Scandinavia, passing to interpreters with Nordic languages, passing to professionals outside Scandinavia.”
First selection criteria for the pre- selection should be discussed on the Malmo list – another action point.

++++++END OF THE SUNDAY MINUTES ++++++++++++

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