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FSA Report: Isabel
(Date: 27 October 2004)
The departure idea was to pass on the infos Silvia and I had on selection and planning to our mates in Latin America. At the beginning, Silvia was doing this, so she was the one that passed the info on selection at this first stage. I anyway advised some of the Americas on how to do the selection : how many people were needed, their language combination and their level of expertise. It was, of course, a proposal on how to work, not a definitive working plan.
The meeting Bettina, Mónica and I had in Quito one month before the FSA was crucial as far as I am concerned. It had two main objectives:
To brief Mónica and Bettina on planning and selection : how it worked and how to work “sur place”. To specify the criteria: what exactly the level of expertise was and what the difference between A, B, C languages was.
To have several meetings with the Quito organizing committee in order to set a planning on how to work: budget, number of interpreters needed, languages of the speakers, number of conferences to be translated…
Concerning this point, I must admit that the relation between the OC and babels did not work properly: the number of conferences that was specified at the beginning changed several times, as well as the budget and was never defined. As far as the languages of each event are concerned, I reckon that we faced two main problems: the OC left this task for the very last moment (we did it 2 days before the FSA started) and we dealt with two different people on this issue, handling two totally different kinds of requirements with a month of difference.
Two weeks before the FSA started, I received all the infos on the interpreters that had been selected by the “language coordinators”. It is the when I started preparing the spreadsheet that would be used to make the planning once in Quito. As I said before, I didn’t select the interpreters myself, but I found some problems when dealing with the planning (which is totally involved with the selection)
The info passage on the interpreters’ languages and level of expertise was not properly done: when talking to the interpreters in Quito, we realized that many of them had different language combinations that could have been very useful if we had known about them before, and also different levels of expertise. We have to be aware that not only A and B languages are important, but also the passive languages ( C) which were mainly forgotten when sent to me.
The selection criteria was not well defined, and I guess this was the main problem we faced. As far as I am concerned, a huge reflection job must be done: militants or professionals? Many passive languages or only two active languages? Obviously, a balance should be necessary, but this balance didn’t exist in Quito at all. We should, from now on, be careful about this and work with the same criteria.
The communication between the language coordinators should be closer. Quite often the free space in a booth can be taken by people in other booths if we have the right info- channels between us.
As far as planning is concerned, Mónica, Eugenia and I worked together in this issue, although we never worked together at the same time. It is up to you to tell if the transmission of information was actually done or not…
If at the beginning my main concern was the planning, I must admit that is the selection process that worries me right now: we should be clear on this issue or we will face many problems on unfair /preferential treatment of interpreters.
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