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MINUTES OF THE BABELS MEETING - ESF PREPARATION 2008
- MALMÖ - 03 and 04 MAY 2008-
(Date: 29 May 2008)
SATURDAY 03 MAY 2008
Julie Boéri in charge of taking notes.
Regarding the economic decisions the procedure is as follows: You present your requirements to the board (principals, political and economic decisions) and once approved you handle autonomously the budget “in your frame”.
Since the treasurer (left party), the representant of friends of the earth left the board because of economic decision, other organisatory and political reasons and because several board members were not active, a new annual meeting has voted a new board.
Members of the board after annual meeting 080426
Old members of the board:
New members of the board:
No grassroots organizations in the board, FoE Member left, missing representatives from many organizations (e. j. immigrants)
From the beginning, Babels budget has been included in the total budget.
Gregoire : The political landscape is reminding of the London ESF : Tensions between small groups (who are more ’radical’, very motivated but have not enough members to mobilize and ensure logistics) and larger movements (trade unions/social democratic organisations, social education groups) who are sometimes more ’established’ in their way of working but can mobilize many people and provide logistical support (funding, solidarity accomodation, venues).
This tension - which is a constant in the SF process - affects Babels because it will influence decision making within the forum process and can lead to conflicts or blockades - it seems to have led to the actual situation where people have left the forum mobilization / organization process.
Simply from looking at the composition of the board, it seems that some groups are not represented, which is surprising : migrants, "no-vox", gay/lesbian/trans... in other Forums these groups have been an important source of mobilisation
Malin : that the board is not necessarily representative of the entire social forum panorama in Malmö. There are working groups and subgroups that associate a wider range of people and movements. Many members in the working groups are “partyless” and are trying to do their best for the forum.
Julie : the problem is that often people from grassroots organizations start to withdraw because they haven’t got as much political and economic power as the board which participates in every EPA etc. Board of decisions / information meetings is not enough.
Sophie : Difficulties of information transfer between the working groups and the board. A procedure and decision making protocol has been elaborated by a working group. All contact persons for working groups have suscribed – will be discussed by the board.
11 working groups, many subgroups
We don’t know how many volunteers are involved in the process. Malin says that during the working weekends there are apx. 40-50 volunteers.
REPORT ON LOGISTICS (MALIN)
Is 1 hour lunch break too short ? Since many people come from outside Malmö or Copenhagen, the seminars cannot start too early or finish too late. But the short break is problematic for interpreters, not enough rest and time to eat, will need to rush between venues (half an’ hour walk from one end to the Forum space to the other end). We propose 1,5 hour lunch.
Saturday and Sunday very short because demonstration on Saturday afternoon, Sunday is only the assembly of social movements and in the afternoon people go home. Still, in the past forums, attendance has been the strongest on the weekend.
Rodrigo : logistically speaking, you can start releasing interpreters on friday night, because less venues and reduced interpretation needs on saturday/ sunday. Graziella reminds that we have to keep post-forum time for reimbursements and a meeting.
Möllevången square + folkets park
Working Maps are ordered.
25 rooms out of 30 with interpretation
Extra large (1000 +)
Extra small (50–100)
Extra extra small (30–50)
Sofielunds Folkets hus
200 cultural activities
Interesting Cultural programme to be included in the interpreters pack
There are different possibilities:
In any case, solidary accommodation will be prioritised for interpreters and people offering specify how the accommodation is (matress on the floor, or proper bed…)
In any case, all accommodation solutions should be as close to the central venues as possible.
Gregoire : reminds that interpreter accommodation does not need to be "standard luxury" (a real bed, a separate room) for all, for some interpreters the main issue is having a quiet place to get real sleep (no party noise, no banging doors in the middle of the night) and a shower... but if comfort means having to commute from the suburbs every morning and evening, then it is not practical and can lead to logistic problems.
A flat for 5 people will be rented a month in advance to ensure space for foreign coordinators coming to help + an extra flat a week in advance.
Babels Space in the forum :
Request from Babels : we will need a fixed and accessible space (where the interpreters can come to for Welcoming meeting, registration, reimbursement, information....
Gregoire : We will also need a larger space (for around 100 people) with toilets, electricity for a coffee/tea boiler ... where interpreters can come to chill out, rest, maybe with WI-FI... this space is also important for logistics, as it allows us to have a place where we can quickly find interpreters who are immediately available to fill in a sudden gap. The "flying interpreter’ concept worked well in London and gave us flexibility.
special cantines for volunteers and interpreters (cantines for volunteers)
We stressed the importance of Water and fruit/muesli bars made available in the Babels room
Interpreters pack should be the same info pack as the one given to ESF participants PLUS babels specific things that we will think about and communicate to Malin firstname.lastname@example.org
General fee : 40 euros - Students 20 euros - Reduced/solidarity : 10 or 20
REPORT ON PROGRAMME GROUP (OLA)
How many activities so far? 160 for 200 activities among them 150 translated activities
Almost 50% have informed about the interpreting needs but a bit patchy. Thus, need to update the form… 20 or 30 languages asked for
The idea is to divide the responsibility into these 9 merging committees but this is experimental.
In any case, EPA in Kiev will thus discuss the merging process done in May (working group will be meeting a day before with some Babels) and then 2 meetings of the programme working group to finish the merging.
Experimentation process. Programme must be ready by JUNE because everyone is out of the office in Sweden during the summer.
• Barunka : We need to ensure that someone from this group goes to Kiev and liaises with the organizing committee - as well as with eastern european groups present at this EPA.
Problems with the webpage… not clear for many people (how to register), problems with the new website. Communication not flowing…
Then during the summer: selection, booth planning. The issue is then to ask for seminars chairs to fulfill babels form with a specific deadline. The problem is that it will be during the summer!!!
Working with Transtrad (Greg and Barunka)
Sara is employed for programme and information including website, press…
Registration form : It would be great to include information requests on the registration form : where they are going to go, what’s their languages, the seminar they want to attend. Early registration fee? Maybe use Paypal…
Have information on the website for registration in your own language
• Linguistic needs information extracted from the activity registration : We will send email questioning participants to find out more about their activity (languages by 10th of July, abstracts or texts by the 4th of September)
REPORT ON ALIS AND TECHNICAL LOGISTICS
Grégoire Seither in charge of taking notes.
Thanos : We are building a new version of the consoles, they are now 95% professional quality. The equipment will be ready in July.
In Malmö we will need 150 booths and we make 30 more, just in case. We will send the wooden booths that were used in Athens plus some of the table tops (many are not in good condition). The ALIS part will be constructing the consoles and transmitters, plus send the wooden booths and provide the training, our role ends there. Because it is not possible to do more from our point of view. The rest will have to be taken charge of by the Malmö ESF. This includes technical support of the systems.
We will not handle radio issues, we will not handle batteries issues.
There are many things that were agreed upon with Hilde but since she dropped out, we need to define them again.
I want to stress how important interpretation is for the functioning of the ESF. You need to pay attention to this issue because years ago in POA we had a collapse, the interpretation system had not been planned ahead and when it failed, everything else failed.
We are proposing you to use the ALIS solution, it is a professional solution and it is really really much cheaper, do some market research and you will see that .
Why am I saying this ? Because you will need to devote people to interpretation and the logistics and this means that you will have to invest money in this. And since we are so much cheaper than an industrial solution, you can afford to NOT be stingy. In professional systems, you rent the system AS WELL AS the people to run it. Here you only pay for the systems, so you need to find people to manage and run, and maybe pay them. If you use volunteers, you need twice as many as there are rooms (50), if you pay them, they can work a bit longer, so you only need maybe 30.
What are the alternatives for technical support ? Find professional sound technicians, train them on the system and let them do the support (the system is easily understood). If you find volunteers in technical schools (electronics) then you can train them.
Francisco : we have a group that has made contact with a team of the technical college students, we will have volunteers in July. We have to talk about equipment but we have a team of 6-7 girls who study electronics that are willing to help us.
Thanos: OK. You also need to organize the fact that some parts need to be bought and some parts need to be build (antennas) - you have to take care of that.
The radios : how do you handle them? One per participant, or rent them out, or a mixed system ? Whatever you do, but you need to handle the issue. If you sell them, you can sell for 5 Euros, that is not a big amount in Europe.
Greg : I would propose to ask ALIS to build 10-20 spider systems ? (Explains what spider system is).
Thanos : Yes we can build a spider system but it would be better to build it in Sweden. It could be part of the contribution of the Swedish ESF and they would be very useful for local organisations to have here.
Technical support : you have to plan for extra technicians who can quickly intervene. In Athens we had not enough technicians so sometimes the systems had a glitch and it would hold up the seminar.
Amelia : These 6-7 girls from the technical college, are they able to moblise and handle the issue ? Regarding the radios, even in Europe there are poor people, so 5 Euros plus 20 Euros can be too much money. So maybe we can have two alternatives, if you want to buy it, you can buy it, else you can rent the radio.
Graziela : I agree, I’m thinking that the registration fee of 40 euros will scare some people, if you add 5 Euros for a radio, it becomes really expensive.
Sophie : we thought about lending radios, but the logistics to distribute and recover the radios is too difficult. That’s why they will be FM radios, so people can reuse them after the Forum. Maybe people can help out, some can pay a bit more, so selling will not be a big issue, but there will be different fees. And we will not sell them for 5 Euros, maybe 2 Euros.
Rodrigo : I witnessed the catastrophe in Nairobi, the system didn’t work , I want to hear the ALIS point of view on this so we can learn from this experience. I also wanted to know from Francisco how many radios will be bought. Could we not get the radios from Nairobi, 40 000 radios were bought, they were never handed out. Can’t we get them ?
Thanos : In Nairobi they bought radios that were inappropriate and in some rooms there was no electricity so the system was unavailable. That is why we cannot use the radios left behind in Nairobi.
Francisco : we are going to buy 15/20 000 radios, we will sell them 2 Euros. But I do not want to talk about specific technical questions, we will have a meeting with Thanos and Carlos this afternoon to discuss technical specifics.
Julie : For the radios, I believe that the interpreters should receive one. Can we add a radio to each welcome pack for the interpreters ?
Anastasia : Interpreters need to be trained before. ALIS could set up a booth and console in Malmö so people can come to the Folkhögskola and train with SITPREP in a booth. Barunka : I always wanted to learn more about the system, we should also organize sessions that go deeper into the system (2-3 hours), provide better understanding of the ALIS system.
Julie : SITPREP is not a training tool only, it also serves to identify volunteers who cannot function in a booth but can be useful elsewhere. When volunteers come, test them with SITPREP, if they realize that interpretation is not for them (many people drop out at that stage), we can also ask them to volunteer for something else, like room coordinator
Rodrigo : My experience with ALIS is that when there are too many systems, you catch the signal from neighbouring rooms. But if you set up the system early enough and you have the people who can calibrate the system, then this issue should not happen.
Julie: Logistically, when you plan the setup of the booths, it would be good to have the booths on the side of the room so you can see the speakers and the powerpoints. You also need to put the booths in such a way that nobody can stand in front of them and block the view.
Can we have full booths everywhere ? Open roof is really difficult to work in, people bump into you, there is noise. Also dust in the booths, they are stored somewhere never cleaned, you sneeze, allergies, ?
Spider system needs to be trained too. If there is interference there can be problems.
Julie : if we are going to have ALIS people in the rooms, they would need to have walkie-talkies. Or rent mobile phones. Don’t forget to ask telecom to put up extra transmiters so your phones are not drowned out.
Francisco : Walkie-talkies are too expensive. We will try to rent mobile phones.
Rodrigo : Regarding the fees. You have a system where, if you only want to attend one seminar, you can pay at the door, then maybe the people selling tickets at the door can also sell the radios.
Graziela : Registration is chaos. If you sell tickets at the door of the events, you will need 600 volunteers. I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but you will need a very good organization. To simplify registration, provide systems to organize queues (barriers).
Stressing the importance of interpretation
Amelia : We have to insist on the fact that, if the interpretation doesn’t work nothing else in the forum will work, so if we cannot find 600 volunteers, then we will have to find solutions. No improvisation is possible.
Sophie : We spend our days reminding people how important interpretation is.
Francisco : We are working on the mobilisation issue very hard. We publish calls in the various documents and newspapers .
Gregoire : Also mobilize in neighbouring countries, not just Denmark, for instance Babels Germany is very active, and Hamburg is not far from Malmö so we can ask volunteers to come.
PLANNING : we need to work with the programme group in order to know who needs what, start working with the actual requests and then, in June, once we have the merged results, we can go and ask the chair of the seminar about the speakers and the topic and the languages... so we can asses the needs and do the booth planning.
Julie : let’s go back to linguistic needs. How do we assess what languages we need ?
Graziela : we look at the needs defined by the program, even before the fusion. Then we decide upon certain symbolic languages that need to be taken into account.
Rodrigo : if we have six booths, we need to devote three to scandinavian languages.
Sophie : no, that is too many, we need to find the symbolic languages, find the balance between the necessary and the symbolic.
Julie : we tell people"speak your mothertongue" but the reality is "you can speak in the language you want". For instance, in Athens we put up symbolic languages and in some rooms the interpreters were kicked out because the speakers said "we don’t need your language, give us your booth". But that doesn’t mean that we are going to put english everywhere just because all Swedes supposedly speak english.
Sophie : Some Swedes don’t speak english.
Rodrigo : What if there is a room with norvegians, swedes and danes ? Are we going to tell them that they have to listen in English ?
Julie : No we will put three scandinavian languages if there is a need, but we should not make a principle out of three booths for scandinavian in all venues.
Sophie : Also Russians, we need to take them into account, and Baltic languages...
Anastasia : In Copenhaguen, we talked to Danes who said they would not speak danish because they prefer to speak English. We have to take this into account but also be careful with this.
Graziela : In Greece we wanted to have greek everywhere, but here I’m not sure we will be able to muster enough people to man scandinavian booths in all venues. Still, we cannot just say "Swedish people all speak english". I know many people here who don’t speak english.
We also need to train speakers to respect the interpreters, not kick people out of booths, etc.
Rodrigo : There is a inferiority complex in scandinavia, everyone wants to speak english instead of their language. Still there are many good interpreters, we can find people, in the interpreting centres that exist in many cities... where you can find bosnians, etc. (Barunka - I’m surprised that the web page of the ESF is not in swedish for instance).
Sophie : We need to mobilize the local migrant community, turks, irakis, people from latin america. We need to explain our participation.
Julie : Action point : we need to write a presentation of Babels where we explain what we do and why we do it. Add a paper to the program, in the registration kit.
PROPOSING A BABELS ACTIVITY WITHIN THE FORUM
Rodrigo : All the organistations are proposing activities, how about Babels proposing an activity about linguistic diversity ? Can we find someone who will speak about this, a specialist, who can share his experience in minoritized languages ?
• Let’s plan a Babels activity, organize some Babels members to plan it, work with ECOS... In Granada we organized a forum on Activism and Interpretation, we have to secure a slot (there is an activity reserved by Babels Afghanistan to test the system, so we have a slot reserved). We need to mobilize and organize this activity in order for Babels to be visible, interpreters need to attend.
Gregoire : maybe organize this activity with the Sami culture as starting point. Since we are in Scandinavia, they would be the host and invite the others, in Porto Alegre we organized a Babels meeting about minoritized languages in the interpretation process (exact thematic ???), with representatives of various indigenous groups from the Andean region, the Amazonas...
• Rodrigo and Sophie propose to contact people in University of Lapland.
INDIVIDUAL INTERPRETATION : we should emphasize the fact that we can eventually provide individual interpretation for specific needs, liaison interpreters for people who really need it. Inform people of this aspect.
SOCIAL ISSUES : Amelia : in Sweden many people are interpreting but they are not sufficiently organized, we should take contact with the interpreters unions and adress the issues they are facing. In Sweden you have the right to have an interpreter in hospitals, prisons etc. It used to be that there were people paid and now it is totaly privatized.
Sophie : We need to keep the issue of labour and unions in interpretation separate from linguistic diversity. Else it will be merged.
• We also should organize a team of translators that can do translations. Use TRANSTRAD. It will raise awareness of Babels.
REPORT ON WHO IS REGISTERED IN THE MALMÖ PROJECT
Julie : Who is registered in the Malmö Project. 1200 based in Europe. Not many in Scandinavia. I havent’ looked at languages, just location. It is more or less balanced in professional experience. I suggest we send a mail to the database to ask people to update their profesional. We also need to reactivate the coordinators from Athens for eastern european languages.
We have to issue specific linguistic calls on the Babels database.
Julie : we have people registered in the Malmo project, we should contact them and ask them to get involved more.
Barunka : I have contacts with profesionals in Eastern Europe, but the issue is tricky with people from Russia, in past forums some people came who were not interpreters at all and did not show up in the booths, we need to assess them. I am going to take care of Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Russia...
Sophie : there are many people from Serbia and Bosnia in Sweden, we need to mobilize them also. Also the Kosovars. I went to the Citizens Office, they have interpreters, but they want to get paid. In Sweden even non-professional interpreters will expect to get paid. It will be difficult to get them to work for free.
Amelia : in mobilization, we have to focus on the interpreters in Sweden who are willing to help, if we tell them about the Forum, some will will come, there are very good interpreters.
Julie : we have tools to mobilize them, we need to find the people here.
Rodrigo Gines in charge of taking notes
Consider new combinations , not only traditional ones
Easter langs, passive or active, baltic and scandinavian
We should focuss in this! But dont forget or Ignore the rest, we want the langs mentioned in interpreters combination, use the pools we have in Nordic Europe
Define goals, strategies and time line. Amelia to focus on professionals, Sophie in contact with universities. Schools of interpreters already contacted, forum pages already redirect to Babels, ESF to always include data about Babels
Some volunteers get too many calls, Malin suffering. Already existing lists to be used for mobilization, lets
Criteria of mobilization and needs
Need of report to see how the process goes, which langs need special effort.
Greg : Transtrad to be used for mobilization papers. Willing to coordinate Transtrad but needs to be sent the copy to be translated.
Who will check process of defining what languages are needed ? Julie until now and she will continue. Sophie, Julie and Gregoire have access to the Babels registration database. Right now we only use the database for mobilization, we will do selection later on.
Graziela : Ensure coordinations gets together and see and report mobilization. Decentralise mobilization, by country first, i.e. France region divided. Bring that to Sweden, big cities. Also important to see who in Europe has a certain language i.e maybe in Europe we have enough interpreters but still future of Babels important.
Everyone: Resend special calls to Babels database stressing Scandinavian and Easter European needs. We could strengthen local coordination in this sense. Gregoire will send out call for specific languages via the database and follow up. This is more efficient than "global" calls for volunteers where too many people reply who don’t have the proper combination or live outside of the ESF mobilization perimeter.
Compensation for coordinators :
Knowledge transmission fund to be used for this ? We need to come back to this and discuss further.
Sophie says phone calls to be covered, buy prepaid card for example.
Sophie : When we identify people willing to help, send them material. We could direct them to the OpenESF website that has a collection of documents that people can access and print. Greg will contact the people who know more about this (Yan Brailowsky, Philipe Bignet).
SUNDAY 04 MAY 2008
BABELS REPRESENTATIVE AT THE KIEV EPA
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 : email@example.com 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).
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.
NEXT BABELS MEETING
Babels meeting again in Stockholm to be sent to the list to discuss? Think about it! After EPA and after merging so that we concrete information.
OUTREACH TO EASTERN EUROPEAN INTERPRETERS
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).
VISAS AND BABELS, VISAS and ESF
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.
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 !
COMMUNICATION AND LOBBY ABOUT BABELS AND ESF TOGETHER
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
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 :
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 Graziela : 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.
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.
Graziela : 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 (KTF)
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 (Yan B, Philippe B. and Emanuela ) 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.
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.
BABELS MEETING - PREPARATION ESF 2008 - MALMÖ - SUNDAY 04 MAY 2008
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
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.
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
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://athens.fse-esf.org .” (http://workspace.fse-esf.org, http://athens.fse-esf.org/news - note the host server seems to be offline at the moment 184.108.40.206)
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?”
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".
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!”
Rodrigo: “I don’t agree with the pre-selection outside Nordic countries.”
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.”
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.
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