EN-Volunteer selection methodology

Porto Alegre, Brasil, January 26-31, 2005
wsf2005

EN-Volunteer selection methodology

Postby wsf2005 » Thu Jul 22, 2004 10:25 am

We would like to invite you to discuss the volunteer selection methodology we will be using for the next World Social Forum.

This discussion will be held in English and Spanish in the forum.
index.php?c=7

On July 9th, we are already 920 volunteering to participate to the next WSF in Porto Alegre. We hope to double at least this number of volunteers by September or October. Our goal is dual and seems contradictory: to allow a maximum of people to participate, to provide the best quality as possible in all the languages.

There are different constraints to take in account:

- Limited resources. The budget whatever is its final volume will permit only to a given number of people, normally around 1,000 or 1,200 persons, to come to Porto Alegre. The number of volunteers is in relation with the ongoing work of the Brazilian Organizing Committe and the one of the different WSF International Council Workgroups. At the moment it is forseen that 50% of the available conference halls will be with translation: 100 rooms.


- A political commitment. Previous experiments in Social Forums prove to be very interesting when mixing experienced and less experienced interpreters and even inexperienced volunteers, or when mixing politically committed persons and less committed ones.

- A collective experience. The WSF from the start to the end will be very demanding. We are aware that the group we will build is huge but at the same time in each booth and in each conference hall, the team of people involved will be in more reasonable number. We feel that mixing cultural differences and geographical origins is an important component in order to help each one of us to have a unique experience even within a same language.

We need at this first stage to share our points of view. Then by August we will try to synthesize them and propose a methodology and a calendar. The goal is to achieve this work together by September in order to start selecting people.

Please participate!

Stickymouse

Small, informal and interactive discussion groups

Postby Stickymouse » Fri Jul 23, 2004 10:24 am

Of course some of the most interesting subjects come up when discussing in small, informal and interactive discussion groups and not when some big fish gives an hour long speech and participants are bored to death !

So how does one translate quickly in these small groups with often very fast interaction between participants, fast questions and answers ... ?

Jaques-Jesus

The FSM/O FSM/Le FSM

Postby Jaques-Jesus » Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:37 am

Hello, my name is Jaques, I am really excited for participating of such an important event, and I am also anxious to begin conversations on the subjects we are going to deal with, whether I am finally selected for going to Porto Alegre. I work in Brasília, but from now on I will deserve my efforts for reserving the last weeks of next January for FSM. I want to help the FSM, not only with my linguistic knowledge, but also with the other, if necessary; I am a psychologist, graduating a Mastership on Social and Work Psychology by the Universidade de Brasília. Thankfully, Jaques-Jesus.

Vero

Postby Vero » Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:48 am

I suppose we'll know when we see it. At this point i don't quite understand what's to be discussed, as we don't even know what is required of us. people keep talking about "translations" in "booths" which is sort of contradictory, isn't it? the rest depends on the audience. It's hard to discuss anything before we know the composition of participants and their languages, etc. Right now i am not even sure there will be any audience for my language pairs. However, I am happy to share my general experience about organization and procedures of interpreting.

julianafeitoza

FSM

Postby julianafeitoza » Fri Jul 23, 2004 12:12 pm

Hi, everyone! I´m eager to start a interesting and rich discussion about how our volunteer work will be settled down in January . First question : How was this work done in the last editions ?What were the negative and positive points ?
Let´s talk !
Juliana Feitoza

Simonny

Volunteers´ talk

Postby Simonny » Fri Jul 23, 2004 12:52 pm

Hello to everyone on the group!

As our colleague Jacques, I´m currently living and working in Brasília. Nevertheless, my hometown is Porto Alegre and my entire family still lives there, thus attending the World Social Forum will be twice as pleasant! Not only will I be given the chance to help build a better world by helping translate documents issued by the several working groups participating on this event, but will also be visiting my town and relatives.

Hope to straighten professional contacts with you all!,

Simonny

laurent

Postby laurent » Fri Jul 23, 2004 1:23 pm

There is an interesting post in the Spanish section of this discussion on the experience of the ESF2003 and the mix between experienced interpreters, professional or not, and less experienced ones: Ana Rózpide's one and the follwing answers generated by it.

My personal feeling is that is 1 point this to be discussed. In ESF2003 experiences (1000 volunteers) were made and booth were craft usually like this:
Professional + Occasional
Experienced + First experience

For the first experienced people some testing was done in order for them to realize what interpreting was about. I know all this is not perfect but in fact in the vasdt majority of the cases it was positive. Of course there were some problems...

A second point would be on who we select first and how. For instance travel is the main expenses in the budget. There is a Triangle (Sao Paulo / Montevideo / Buenos Aires) materialized by the fact than buses can be organized. It is important than a lot and a vast majority of the volunteers are in fact coming from there and of course Porto Alegre. This will free budget to have people from afar to come.

A third point is on languages. The WSF2005 as the ESF2003 and the WSF2004 before will be in much more languages than usual. The method is quota-related. But we can be sure that EN + ES + PT will be present in an overwheming way 80 to 90% of all the events. See Babels scenarios in the pre-budget document:
viewtopic.php?t=164

Decisions on languages will be finalized in November. Nevertheless for at least these 3 languages and maybe FR as well, we can be sure we will need really a lot of people. Therefore we can start selecting people as soon as September for these languages.

A fourth point. All volunteers have activities... well for some it is even interpreting as a profession. In order for people to get organized, to put down some holidays for instance or else... we need to tell them something more than "thank you for volunteering you will receive information later" and something less than "you will be arriving at 10am in POA here is your flight" nearly 5 months in advance... But we do need to book flights (for those of you that are the further located) asap in order to have the lower as possible fares. All this take time...

Maybe we can have a two-tear validation process. A pre-selection and a selection... But who's first, when, on what criteria ? For instance personnaly outside of the Triangle, I'll be for selecting in a first wave all the professional who are volunteering.... ? but is it realisitic ?

Anyhow please like I did, do give all you have in mind on these topics. This will hlep to raise questions we will need to assess together before selecting and crafting a process

Mamy

Postby Mamy » Fri Jul 23, 2004 1:30 pm

Hi, I'm writing from Italy and I would like to participate in the discussion regarding the volunteers selection methodology: I was in Paris last year, and in Florence as well, of course; I've been working as interpreter from 10 years and I think I can be considered as a professional; I agree in sharing the translation experience even with non-professional or semi-professional translators/interpreters: I think this is a very important experience, for everyone... but I've seen, here in Europe, that many (not few, MANY) persons used the Social Forum Meetings just to have something to add in their curricula, to make experience and, especially, to have a holiday.....It happened, not just once: for this reason I propose (I did it also after Paris) to write a "contract", a document, a Carta which should clear up the reasons why we are working free, but with trip and food paid: in Paris I worked a lot, hardly, but I did it to build a better world for my children, and for all the children of the planet, not to have a holiday free. I think this is a huge risk: I mean, spend money and energy for people who do not really care and share the ideas and hope of this world movement, as we call it in Italy.
Kiss & peace, Mamy

Nubia Goncalves

WSF 2005

Postby Nubia Goncalves » Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:03 pm

Hi! I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I work for Ibase, one of the organizations in the IC and the Brazilian Secretariat of the WSF, so I am quite aware of the enormous responsibility we all have and also the political importance of the forum. Even not being a professional in this kind work I think I can help with translations in articulation with others.
After India, Porto Alegre has a huge challenge and our volunteer work is central to make it happen.
All the best
Nubia

Lars

Re: Small, informal and interactive discussion groups

Postby Lars » Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:22 pm

Hello everybody,
I'm writing from Hamburg, Germany, and just wanted to comment on your question.

So how does one translate quickly in these small groups with often very fast interaction between participants, fast questions and answers ... ?[/quote]

I recently worked with a headset and a microphone which allow simultaneous interpretation for a number of people who also have headsets. If it were possible to provide such systems many more informal discussions with a considerable number of participants were possible thus avoiding the boring "talking heads" sessions....
Nevertheless, all those involved will have to talk in a disciplined manner ....

Cheers
Lars

Vero

Re: Small, informal and interactive discussion groups

Postby Vero » Fri Jul 23, 2004 3:01 pm

Lars wrote:
I recently worked with a headset and a microphone which allow simultaneous interpretation for a number of people who also have headsets. <.....>
Nevertheless, all those involved will have to talk in a disciplined manner ....

Cheers
Lars


in practice, nobody ever gets to talk in a disciplined manner even at more formal events like academic and business conferences :) it means everybody who wants to say a word must at least come to the microphone. In practice, even the lead speakers often fail to approach them. Besides, such equipment is quite expensive, and so is its rental. But i agree this is a great way to organize the event.
Depending on participants, though, the sponsors may want to go with so-called "whispering", which is essentially the same but without equipment and special booth. This, however, does not give much opportunity for the audience of "whispering" to participate much in the general discussion.

Erika

Some ideas on WSF Volunteering in Translation/Interpretation

Postby Erika » Fri Jul 23, 2004 3:31 pm

I think it is wonderful to organize volunteer translators and interpreters in this way, and have a few things to say.

Having read both the Spanish and English sections, I want to say that yes, we should be concerned about the level of experience that each volunteer has, but that should not be exclusionary. I would hope that experienced/professional interpreters/translators would help those with less or no experience. Otherwise, it would be contradictory to the goals of the WSF. And frankly, I don't like being part of an activity that doesn't practice what it preaches. This should be an opportunity for those less experienced to gain more experience without obviously putting themselves in a position that is way beyond their limit.

Perhaps those with little or no experience can receive beforehand some tips from those with experience. Tips are useful, as I have found in my own translating work.

Also, I question the term "professional". Surely there are people that are very experienced but don't have "professional" status. I have been informally translating for some years now, but would never qualify as "professional". I am sure there are many who fall into this category.

Also, I wondered about the level of language knowledge that we need. I speak Spanish and English very well, and can translate well between those languages, but I also have knowledge of Portuguese (having lived with the MST in Brazil for over 5 months) and French. But haven't put this into my language pairs. Will there be less formal situations in which I could put this language knowledge to use? I don't think I could interpret simultaneously in between another language (like Spanish and English) and Portuguese or French, but could translate in a smaller group. Will there be levels of knowledge, ease?

Also, I have not done simultaneous interpretation before but do wish to gain experience in it so that I can do this in the future as it is a valuable skill to have and am sure that with some beforehand tips as well on the job help, that I could pull it off.

Well, anyhow, these are just some of my ideas! Let's continue the discussion! Que bien que estamos haciendo esto!

Saludos solidarios,

Erika

YuryGuerra

Postby YuryGuerra » Fri Jul 23, 2004 5:51 pm

Hello everyone,
I'm writing from Quito, Ecuador, and just wanted to comment about the level of experience and the political commitment each volunteer should have. I think it is important that the level and the political commitment should go hand by hand. I mean the level in both languages should be good in order to do this job, but I think it is also important that the political commitment should be there in a certain acceptable level. One thing I found out, in the few years of experience I have, is that when ever you are interpreting the subject you interpret is extremely important in order to do a good job. When ever I feel the urgency of communicating the message the brain is so alert that I do an excellent job.

It is also crucial to understand that our job is important in order to build bridges and to overcome the barrier of language.

Greetings
Yuri

Catharina Parodi

Re: EN-Volunteer selection methodology

Postby Catharina Parodi » Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:35 pm

[quote="wsf2005" - I have worked for the past 14 years as a Simultaneous Translator/Interpreter, and before that, I did a few minor jobs of spoken translation and a lot of written translation. I really would like to participate in future forums. I participated in UNCTAD XI, which was extremely interesting.]
[/quote]

Lars

Re: Small, informal and interactive discussion groups

Postby Lars » Sat Jul 24, 2004 2:34 pm

[b]
in practice, nobody ever gets to talk in a disciplined manner even at more formal events like academic and business conferences :) it means everybody who wants to say a word must at least come to the microphone. In practice, even the lead speakers often fail to approach them. Besides, such equipment is quite expensive, and so is its rental. But i agree this is a great way to organize the event.
[/b]


yes, I agree, most people forget that translation needs concentration on all sides, not just on our's. I didn't mean my remark to indicate any kind of dictum for speakers but rather to highlight the fact that only if there's a political will by all speakers to try to understand each other then there's a possiblity of a half-way decent interpretation of crucial political differences
Depending on participants, though, the sponsors may want to go with so-called "whispering", which is essentially the same but without equipment and special booth. This, however, does not give much opportunity for the audience of "whispering" to participate much in the general discussion.
[/quote]

In a room with more than 20 participants whispering can soon become very difficult, but I agree that it's an alternative.

On another plane it makes sense to advance the discussion about criteria for selection of interpreters (which this forum is also about as I understand it) by considering the proposals Gerardo made on the Spanish-speaking forum:

1. Seleccionar los candidatos según su hoja de vida (Curriculum vitae) que sería enviada a través de un formulario preparado por Babels (más completo que el de la inscripción) que incluya participaciones en los Foros anteriores, y experiencias adquiridas (no necesariamente en interpretación, yo por ejemplo, soy periodista y hablo portugues e ingles) aspectos que serían evaluados para determinar el nivel de aportes que el candidato pueda ofrecer al Foro.

2. No excluir candidatos por no tener experiencia en interpretación. Sus aportes se pueden implementar en las areas de transcripción de material de audio a escrito y traducción de esos textos a diferentes idiomas, también necesarios para la difusión mundial de las importantes discusiones que se llevarán a cabo en Porto Alegre.

Saludos
Lars

lupita fitzcarraldo

Postby lupita fitzcarraldo » Sat Jul 24, 2004 3:45 pm

Hiyas from Edinburgh!

I'm looking out of the window rite now and it's so...raining, a lot, 24 July, July!.

Anyways, glad to have the opportunity to speak to you people and a few comments on what has been said up to now. I agree with Juliana Feiloza in that we should talk about how the work was organised in previous forums and what went right and wrong. It's the only way in which we will be able to foresee trouble and improve delivery in general. So yeah, let's talk!

I also agree with Laurent in that we need to sort out flights and everything asap in order to get the best deal. This is linked to the need to select qualified interpreters and translators, a hot topic in both the English and the Speaking forums. Laurent asks " who [interpreter] is first, when and on what criteria". I agree that nothing can beat a professional, experienced interpreter. However, this is an opportunity for newcomers to make their mark. There must be a selection process in place, I think we all agree on this. This selection process, if accurate, should help us to establish who has the ability to work in a booth and who is best suited for translation tasks. As far as I'm concerned, here in Edinburgh we have a Babels group that's been quite active in that selection process for the ESF in London. I also believe that interpreters with little or no experience in the field at all should honestly ask themselves "can I do this?". If the answer is no, there's no point whatsoever in wasting money and resources for nothing, let alone go through the humiliation and trauma of not being able to interpret on the day, as Ana Rozpide points out in the Spanish speaking forum.

I also agree with Erika on what makes an interpreter/translator "professional". The answer's nothing, in my opinion. I personally am qualified, just finished my Masters, but don't believe for a second that makes me "better" than a non-qualified professional. For all my MSc and stuff, I cannot compete with Erika and her years of translation experience, and that's a fact. Nonetheless, I believe that being good in this profession has nothing to do with titles, it has to do with having the linguistic and mental ability to perform in whatever circumstances, regardless of your experience. If you have what it takes, then you're good to the WSF, regardless of your experience. That's the reason why you'll be in a booth with a professional who will guide you and help you out as you need. Surely, that is the overall goal of this project and, as Erika and Mamy, otherwise I wouldn't want to be part of it either.

I also think it would be a good idea, as Mamy points out, that we draft a sort of document stating our reasons for volunteering for the WSF. We do want to get experience, and this is a good opportunity for that, but I agree many people do it just because it's gonna look good on their CV, just as they spent a few saturdays volunteering for Oxfam while at uni. This is directly linked to having at least a minimal commitment to the aims of the WSF. It's no good being a hell of an interpreter if you haven't got a clue what the FTAA is (yeah, ok, not very likely but couldn't come up with anything smarter guys).

So, to summarize:

* We need to find out how it's been done before, what worked and what
didn't.

*Selection process needed, but not in order to exclude people, only to
find out what they are best suited for, and perhaps, how to best pair
experienced professionals with nobel ones.


*Draft of aims and interests for professionals involved in the WSF 2005.

These are my thoughts at the moment. Let's keep the ideas flowing, and hopefully, we'll get there soon.

Regards, Lupita


[/b]

Juliana Franco

selection

Postby Juliana Franco » Sat Jul 24, 2004 7:27 pm

Hi, I’m a journalism student from Bauru, Brazil. First of all it's very exciting to be involved in this discussion. I’m really glad to see that people from all around the world are trying to help the WSF…it’s extremely beautiful to see that people are mobilized and that they are trying to do their best here. I’ve read great ideas of how we could do to do this job in the better way, and I really believe that professional translators are needed, but it’s really nice that people who aren’t that experienced, like me and so many others, could help and learn. I agree that the selection have to be good enough to avoid people searching only for vacation. I know that Brazil has a tourism image abroad and it’s hard to know who wants to come here to help and make a difference and who wants to come here to travel. I’m my university we were worried about the same issue, because we were organizing a free trip to the WSF. We concluded that the best solution was to involve the students with the WSF questions, and so we have organized a group that would discuss the Forum and all the questions that are discussed in it and learn about its history. It would be a way to involve more the students and choose the most interested to go to Porto Alegre. We were thinking too that students that have projects related to the Forum, like researches or scientific initiations, could have the priority because it wouldn’t be an empty experience and would bring results for the scientific community. We though about interviews and other ways that here wouldn’t work. I was thinking that maybe the best thing to do is to make people write why they think they have to go, why they want to help and what will be the use of this experience for the person. Well, I’m really optimistic about this! I believe that we could do a great job!

carolinaberard

Postby carolinaberard » Sun Jul 25, 2004 2:59 am

Hello, my name is Carolina and I live in Curitiba - Paraná (not too far from Porto Alegre). I am also a translator and I am very interested in taking part of such an important project.

I'd like to share my opinions:

1) I agree with other colleagues who said we should talk about how the work was organised in previous forums. Knowing why things worked out (or not) will certainly help.

2) I also like the idea of giving more details about our expertise in each language pair. If there are informal events, then maybe some people could add more languages to their profile in Babels website. After all, simultaneous translation is somewhat different from informal conversation among a few people.

3) I also think we should make sure EVERY CANDIDATE is certain that they will be free in late Janurary. What if the commitee selects one person who simply does not show up?

4) I also think it is essential that every candidate is aware of the goals and importance of the event. I also agree with the idea of providing each volunteer with some kind of contract.


Regards,
Carolina

AgnèsG

Re: Small, informal and interactive discussion groups

Postby AgnèsG » Mon Jul 26, 2004 9:17 am

Stickymouse wrote:Of course some of the most interesting subjects come up when discussing in small, informal and interactive discussion groups and not when some big fish gives an hour long speech and participants are bored to death !

So how does one translate quickly in these small groups with often very fast interaction between participants, fast questions and answers ... ?


Hello! I just wanted to give a few precisions on the three possible ways of interpreting. If the situation is as Stickymouse describes it, "whispering" is usually the best formula required. Of course It is very tiring for an interpreter when people answer too quickly to one another, but it is easier to master discipline in a small group. I personnaly prefer simultaneous interpreting but know well that whispering, being very cheap, is often chosen. The last possibility : "consecutive" (interpreter takes note) takes too much time for a social forum. It can be adopted at the last recourse. Ok, thank you! See you!

laurent

Postby laurent » Mon Jul 26, 2004 10:07 am

There are so many interesting posts and ideas, that I do not know where to start. This is a good sign.

I slightly disagree with the "commitment" contract. By only point of questioning it is that some people might encouter for the first time the WSF. Of course as Lupita put it to know the FTAA or the GMO is a good introduction. But who is familiar in the Dalit issue... is that barring you to come and interpret in the WSF in Mumbai for instance where the issue was central? The same can be true although better known maybe as the MST or the No Vox issues. For me the commitment is rather based on "empathy" and not solely on "sympathy" as it is based for me on "willigness to learn" and not solely on "knowledge".

Then Juliana's post (as Lupita's when talking about Scotland) is clearly stating than nothing is better than meeting, discussing, evaluating the situation with the people themselves. It is hard to centralize all this, it is hard to organize this worldwide for thousands of people. But nevetheless something can be done.

The "quality" of interpreting if I understand the posts are on based on technique related issues and on topic knwoledge related issues. Maybe what would you think about proposing to all willing persons to organize meetings where they are provided certain constraints and sharing their experiences with interpreting in the SF special context or participating to the SF ? Like what was said it could enable a sort of natural selection process and there is time to do so between September and October.

This does not answer all. But my feeling is that there will not be one solution to fit all. Good! Personnally I am pleased about this.


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