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Stage 1 - Report FR Booth
(Date: 4 November 2005)
Report FR Booth Team for the ESF2006 Stage 1 (October November 2005)
This first report was written by Gregoire, Laurent and Philippe, the three volunteers who helped set up and manage the first stage of our experiment. It marks the end of this first stage and the beginning of stage 2.
The aim of our experiment is to test a new selection process for the French Booth at ESF2006. The main objective is to share decisions between all willing participants and to make the selection process more transparent and explicit.
In order to do this, we started by emailing all experienced interpreters that had signed up for Athens 2006 in order to ask them to confirm their availability for the exact dates of the ESF2006 (6-9 April).
But we also asked them if they agreed to devote some time during the month of November in order to contact a maximum of three non-experienced ESF2006 volunteers in their area and to assess if they would be able to work in a booth.
The assessment would not be an "examination", but more some kind of human evaluation based on the professional’s experience and expertise. Guidelines for this "interview" would be worked out on a common base and the participating professional would then hand in a "report" at the end of the month.
Simultaneously, an email was sent to all the volunteers that had signed up for the French booth in Athens and who had indicated having little or no experience in interpreting. This email informed them about our experiment and asked them to confirm their availability for the ESF2006, now that we know the dates.
First results and first limitations
About 60 experienced volunteers responded positively to both questions (out of 81 persons who received the message).
This immediately sets a first limitation: considering that we cannot expect professionals to dedicate too much of their work time to our experiment, we want to limit each "evaluator" to a maximum of three "evaluees". Therefore, if we only have 60 professionals, we can only evaluate 180 non experienced volunteers - even though we have over 400 people who signed up to participate in the Athens ESF with Babels.
The maximum of three persons per evaluator is not grabbed out of the sky. We want to avoid taking too much of people’s time (not more than two or three hours) and we want to keep things in a human and personal dimension. The encounters between pros and non-pros should be face to face and casual, not a general meeting in a hall.
We have no magical solution to overcome this limitation. In fact, the only thing we have come up with is the idea of drawing 180 people out of a hat. We raised the issue and launched a public discussion around this on the Babels Forum. Based on the public debate around this, we’ll make a decision by next week since time is running out.
Analyzing the results and a second limitation.
Here is how the 60 volunteer "evaluators" stack up in terms of geographical and linguistic distribution:
1- Geographical distribution :
Algeria = 1 person (Tizi Ouzou)
2- Linguistic distribution
People that do not have English among their language combinations = 7 persons
3- Making choices toward selection
The choices that will have to be made at the end of our experiment make up the second limitation. At this stage we have no way of knowing if people will be retained or not, and how many.
We first have to know the total number of FR Booth at the ESF. We know already that we will need two teams per physical booth in order to spread out the day’s work. But we do not know how many FR Booth there will be at the ESF. One thing is already certain at this stage, there won’t be a FR Booth in all the ESF rooms, and not at all events.
We have to know if the same pivotal languages will be used in all rooms. Based on the report following the Istanbul European Preparatory Assembly, political decisions concerning languages have been taken in order to ensure that all the ESF events will have at least Greek, English and one Eastern or Central European or Balkan languages. This means that at this time, the only pivotal language is English. This needs to be confirmed.
Defining a selection protocol and sticking to it
We have to decide together on a common selection protocol. The objective of this protocol will be to set up teams that take into account geographical diversity (this is linked to political decisions and budgetary limitations concerning the travel expenses), that establish a diversity in expertise (ratio between experienced people and people with little or no experience) as well as experience (ratio between people who have already participated in one or several Social Forums, and people for whom it will be a first experience).
This protocol is not yet written. A work group has been set up to draft this protocol for the French Booth. Its work will be publicly accessible on the Babels forum. We invite all of you warmly to give us your opinion on the criteria to be taken in account and the methods to establish it. The Babels Forum is at your disposal for this.
In order to keep up with the necesary schedule required to build the interpreting team for the FR Booth, we will need to finalize this common protocol during the month of January at the latest. This will leave us time to take the necessary decisions openly among ourselves and allow us, in February, to give to the ESF Organizing Committee a list of persons selected to participate in the Athens forum, in the FR Booth. The committee can then organize travel and accommodation for them.
List of the persons
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