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 Home > Event-related > World Social Forum > World Social Forum 2005 > Intermediary Reports

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November meetings in Porto Alegre

November 11-16, 2004
(Date: 23 November 2004)

Babels, Nomad and WSF meetings were held in Porto Alegre (POA) mid-November. These meetings were the last large-scale meetings before the WSF.

Babels coordinators: Bettina, Bruno, Daniela, Denise, Erica, Fernanda, Gabriela, Graziella, Jean-Christian, Julia, Laurent, Luciana, Luis, Marie-José, Mónica, Patricia, Stéphanie, Susanna, Yan...

Nomad coordinators: Emerson, Everton, Hemant, Itair, Jean-François, Julien, Sophie...

The coordinators came from numerous regions of the world: Argentina, Brazil (Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo), Colombia, Congo, France, India, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, USA...

The issues mentioned below were discussed before, during and after the WSF meetings with all the coordinators present.

Geographical origin of selected interpreters

We have proposed a budget for 487 interpreters.

340 interpreters should come from Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, 60 from the rest of Latin America, 15 from Africa/Asia/Middle-East, and 72 from Europe/USA/Canada.

In other words, 82% volunteers should come from Latin-America, and 18% from the rest of the world.

If the budgetary situation brightens up late December/early January, we will welcome more volunteers from the region immediately surrounding POA.

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Babels volunteer from Peru using Nomad during the IC meeting
The IC meetings were translated by Babels volunteers using FM radio-transmitters entirely built by Nomad Brasil

Formal meeting (November 14)

- Babels-Nomad: Yan, Laurent, Sophie, Hemant
- Brazilian Organizing Committee (BOC): Antonio, Sergio, Fatima, Gustavo
- FSM POA Escritorio: Luciano

The main topic during this meeting was "cutting costs": we were told that there was no money at all for the WSF and that we should seek to cut the translation budget.

- Babels-Nomad proposed to equip for translation around 36 rooms (instead of 55) out of a total of 250 rooms. We discussed the possibility of reducing the number of rooms to 24. But for Babels-Nomad, this is not a good proposal as this would represent less than 10% of the total of rooms in the forum. We felt that the demand for translation would exceed the offer by too great a margin. We suggested that, in the event of having to reduce the number of rooms to 24, we should reduce the duration of the events in rooms equipped for translation to 2h30 instead of 3h00 in order to schedule 4 meetings per day in these rooms (instead of only 3 as planned).

- We discussed the size of the rooms equipped with translation. We reiterated that small and big rooms had to be considered equally in this respect. Babels refuses to translate only in ’big’ rooms: most of the interpreters and many delegates were frustrated by this in Mumbai (WSF04). Experience has shown that small rooms are equally, if not more, important than big rooms, and it is why Babels must provide interpretation in these small rooms too.

- We discussed the geographical localization of the volunteers. We showed that the all the volunteers needed to cover the translation needs of the WSF could not come only from the surrounding region (Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina), not only for numerical but also for ’qualitative’ reasons (there are not enough volunteer professional interpreters in the region). We agreed on the fact that everyone coming from outside Latin America should only be professional or very experienced interpreters who had participated in previous Social Forums.

- We accepted the creation of a Translation Solidarity Fund: all organizations participating in the program will be asked to participate to this fund on a voluntary basis. This participation does not mean that they will have more rights than others. This Fund is intended to help cover the WSF’s Translation budget.

- For accommodation, we accepted to try to reduce the budget by limiting the number of hotel rooms to 25 (i.e. for 50 people) which would be reserved for Babels volunteers with disabilities or special needs. Babels-Nomad will seek to provide 450 beds either in people’s homes in POA (solidarity housing) or in a school (everyone should have a single bed and access to normal bathrooms).

Meeting of the International Council,
Program and Methodology Workgroups (November 15)

Babels-Nomad reported the results of the meeting with the BOC (see above) during the Monday plenary. We stressed the need to obtain quick answers as to the budget we would we working with, as we must start booking and prepaying plane tickets immediately.

The BOC Program Workgroup will be responsible for selecting which events will benefit from the rooms equipped for translation. This is a political decision that will not be dealt with by Babels.

There was no clear methodology as to the allocation of ’rare’ languages for individual events (the ’rare’ languages are: IT, DE, AR, HE, RU, HI, TH, KO, JA, TR, WO, SW). This will have to be discussed in the weeks prior to the WSF.

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Members of the program and methodology group
There were approximately 60-90 participants in the 3-day meetings in POA
 
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