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A pre-budget for the WSF5
(Date: 23 June 2004)
You will find hereafter a report just made: A pre-budget for the WSF5 (January 26th to January 31st, 2005).
This document was written by volunteers involved either in Nomad or Babels projects (around 30 persons at this stage from the Americas, Europe and India). You can see some of them at:
This document symbolizes the end of this preparation period. It lays the ground for a new one involving many more people. The two main ideas developed in the report are:
We withdrew the figures that were attached to this document and send out to the BOC for the following reasons:
The different scenarios you will find in this document are meant to help cope with the different constraints. They are also purely indicative at this stage. The next preparation period should select a mix of several by November, hence the importance of the progressive decisions making process.
A pre-budget for the WSF5 (January 26th to January 31st, 2005)
Collective work made by the Babels and Nomad WSF Project Coordination
The aim of this report is to give some figures concerning the translation needs for the World Social Forum 5 to be held in Porto Alegre between January 26th and January 31st 2005. This report is based on different scenarios. There are not necessarily all the possible scenarios. They are a basis for further discussions. At the end you will find a financial assessment concerning this project.
This document will be followed by a report assessing the methodology and practical steps to implement the different scenarios (especially regarding Nomad) after the end of July (see Timetable below) co-written with the groups and volunteers starting to be involved in the Porto Alegre region.
Different scenarios are lay-out in this report in order to help everyone to cope with a wide variety of choices. The involvement of Babels and Nomad is different than a commercial involvement not only because of “volunteer work” but also because it enables to find appropriate and political solutions to a wide variety of constraints: It is the opposite of the “one size fits all” way of doing things. The variations can have budget consequences or no consequences (for instance to add Arabic bear no consequence on the budget providing that there will be a little less halls with the main languages and therefore room for this language.) and can be decided therefore freely according to political choices.
We feel that these dates should enable a progressive decision making process taking in account the reality and local constraints. The fact that the dates can also correspond to other workgroups meetings should enable transversal decision making processes with various other actors. These should be worked out formally and informally.
End of June – The BOC (Brazilian Organizing Committee) call is issued. Then the Babels and Nomad call for volunteers is issued.
We have set numerous electronic meetings (using a dedicated chatroom) between all the volunteers involved in organizing Babels and Nomad. Between all these meetings we have proposed that once a month, one will reunite people from the Organizing Committee (BOC), Babels and Nomad. (for exact dates and time please email to email@example.com , the Porto Alegre / Sao Paulo Babels’ coordination)
For what we understood from the ongoing discussions regarding the conference halls, it is foreseen that around 50% of the rooms will be equipped for translation, including some of the rooms in the Youth Camp. This represents around 100 rooms. In this respect we will talk about providing translation in 100 rooms. Regarding the different room sizes hence the different types of event that will happen in these rooms, what we have understood also is that 80 rooms will be in 2 languages, 10 in 3 languages and 10 in 5 languages. We are aware that all these are estimates at this point. Nevertheless we will base our proposal on them.
It is the concept we will be using to explain why for a given language, the system used should be used in all the rooms. Therefore if a language is associated with FM, it should be associated with this type of equipment in each room. This will enable people to not be lost and find in all the cases the same technology. This will enable us to sell or give receivers according to languages upon registration avoiding the lending issue with volunteers taking id-cards before each conference as a counter-part of a receiver lent for the duration of the conference.
Consistency is also a pragmatic consideration for the hidden cost of a technology. For example environmental cost of using batteries for FM receivers or volunteer mobilization or not to build in large number the Magnetic loop receivers. While considering these costs we cannot afford to undermine the primary political objective of breaking the linguistic barriers.
We will take a pragmatic view of the technology transfer and decentralized procurement of equipments. It will be very difficult to use five different designs of FM transmitters and 10 different configuration of magnetic loop. For example different thickness of copper wire will create different effects and different receiver would behave differently. Consistency is therefore suggesting that we have to standardize the schematics, designs and materials.
Whatever the solutions chosen, receiving equipment are an important issue: headsets, FM radios or whatever other needed. Our budget will be based on the fact that these equipment will be given for free to most of the participants except of the OECD countries participants. We feel that an added $5 USD could be included automatically in the registration fees from people from the “North” corresponding more or less to 2 to 3 time the price of the equipment they will need (whether they will take it or not when registering). This solely will not cover the costs of these receivers. Some other solutions can be worked on involving the organizations registered and the size of their declared delegation.
Receiving equipment should be in link with the venue organization and depending on the fee involved for registration to the WSF. For instance if the “venue is open” the registration fee should be low enough for everyone to feel that they can contribute. We can even imagine a “free-fee” ie a fee up to each one indicating as information only the average fee per person to cover the cost. A similar situation can be imagined for the equipment. These types of “free-fee” prove to be realistic budget-wise provided the fact that all people are well informed on the situation.
What ever is the solution found in order to finance huge numbers of receivers the experience in Mumbai prove that the booths where to buy these should be numerous, visible and linked with each rooms or group of small rooms: batteries are also an item that will be needed and therefore special recycling points should be available.
One part of Nomad is linked with the digitalization of the voices, their archiving and their streaming over the Internet. This part of course involves computers, but also Internet links, archiving methodology and partnerships between servers (also called mirroring). This part is independent from all the scenarios because as far as the “room needs” ie the needs linked with the fact that people are actually participating in different languages in the conference hall, are equivalent to the rooms where 3 or more languages are available.
Archiving. This sole issue is in relation with the Memory Workgroup of the Organizing Committee and solutions should be found collectively.
Streaming on the Internet (live and/or with a small delay). The pre-selected venue (on the shore of the laguna) is including fiber optic link to the Internet but the rooms have to be wired also. A dedicated 2 Mbytes should prove to be sufficient to stream the contents from the different hall to the “outside”.
Mirroring. The ability for several servers in the world to provide access to the stream is needed. The centralization of the information could be in contradiction with the political framework that the WSF is trying to build for the WSF5. Furthermore this centralization will probably put down the server as many people will take this opportunity to “be here” remotely. This should be an occasion for the Organizing Committee to launch a call aiming at finding servers existing through out the word and corresponding to the Solidarity Economy principles. This type of political actors are often hidden and not visible to the WSF participants in general (the number of yahoo.com or hotmail.com mail addresses and listserv are a good proof of this), it could be therefore a good opportunity to develop participation in other ways than the usual.
For all the number of computers is around 360: 3 in each of the 2 language rooms, 5 in the 3 language ones and 7 in the 5 languages one. In order to build a network within each room two technologies can be used: cabling the different computers together, the easiest and cheapest solution at this time, or using WIFI (wireless). This solution seems very high and difficult to achieve.
That is why we prefer to propose a solution matching the “room needs” as explained which will involved the building of 20 room networks and the use of 120 computers. This means that alternate solutions will have to be found for the “memory” part of the smaller conference rooms with translation as for the other conference rooms without translation.
Computers like all the rest within the different WSF5 projects should be seen as an opportunity to mobilize actors in Porto Alegre. In fact the computers do not need to be “top of the line, brand new ones”, quite the opposite. Therefore we can integrate groups and organizations, individuals as well, into this issue because we need that they are lend to the WSF solely for a 7 day duration including 2 days for installing them in each room and testing them. We feel that this could be a good occasion for “popular education” groups or organizations working with unemployed and/or excluded people in Porto Alegre to teach them the techniques enabling them to participate fully to the WSF5 spirit. Furthermore “install party” can be organized with POA citizens as they often exist with free-software groups and organizations. We feel therefore than in accordance with the different existing POA actors a lot should be found in order to provide these 120 computers and can be done as the example in several cities of both popular education through recycling high-technology equipment and install party have proven to be successful.
Ghost Nomad. Ghost Nomad is a possibility given in rooms where they are already the computer side of Nomad, for one more language to be added at any time (no extra cost for the WSF organization) for the archiving purpose and the Internet stream. This is possible because we will leave one free socket in the switcher to wire in an added computer and because of the work done to provide a CD-bootable enabling any PC to become “Nomad”. This is a possibility given for “supplementary languages” (not part of the WSF languages: see Babels scenarios) providing that the group of organizations or organization will provide their computer and their interpreter (of course no one in the room will be able to hear the translation that is why we call it “Ghost Nomad”). This could be advertise widely by the WSF Organizing Committee in order to open the WSF to any language ie to any linguistic group willing to build a live memory of the WSF content.
In order to be able to work interpreters need to have specific workplaces within each conference hall. These workplaces are called booths because generally they look like small boxes or small rooms with windows in front in order to be able to see the speakers. In each of those there is a need for two good quality headsets and one microphone on a stand. The booth should be sound-proof and lay out away from the loud-speakers of the public address system and their access should be difficult for the public. A second type of booths in smaller conference halls is called “table-booth”. These are lighter, are generally set on a table directly and are meant mainly to provide a minimal sound-proof isolation. They are of course a lot cheaper than the regular big-hall booths and provide a fairly good work condition for the interpreters.
These booths could be built with each room provided that the constraints mentioned are taking care of especially concerning the placement of the booths. Interpreters need to see and hear the speakers as comfortably as possible provided that their work is lasting long hours and that the quality of their job is directly in link with their work conditions. A booth should accommodate two persons.
Number of booths is in link with number of languages. There are two different solutions:
There is of course a human part to all these equipment requirements. We evaluate to 220 the number of volunteers needed during the event. 200 represents 2 persons for each room where there is equipment to manage it during each conference. 20 represents several teams managing each equipment type or sequence: FM, Magnetic loop, Computers: room network, archiving, streaming, room audio system (especially the mixing tables).
There could be different scenarios: Some will involve languages distribution (they will be called Babels scenarios) others will involve room equipments (they will be called Nomad scenarios). It exists also three main scenarios, independent of all the others, it is those that we will present first.
Main scenario 1
The public address system (PAS in the rest of this report) ie the audio system in each room based on microphones and loud-speakers is used solely to air the voice of the speakers whatever their language. Consequence 1: people are hearing the original voice in which the speech is made (this might be particularly important in “Testimony” conference format for instance). Consequence 2: everyone should have receiving equipment and all languages should have a channel in the translation system.
Main scenario 2
The PAS is used to air one language (whether the speaker’s voice or if he/she is not speaking that language, the one of the interpreter). In this case we would strongly advocate for Spanish (ES) to be this language . Consequence 1: all speakers should be aware that they can speak Spanish or “Portugnol” if they want their voice to be heard. Consequence 2: Spanish native speakers should be aware of the situation in order to speak an “international format” of Spanish easily understandable by all. Consequence 3: We can evaluate that a vast majority of the people will not need receiving equipment. Consequence 4: A channel in the translation equipment is either free for other languages or non-existing.
Main scenario 3
The PAS is used to air two languages for instance ES and EN allowing therefore speakers to chose to speak in these 2 languages (for all the other languages consecutive translation is needed). This should allow a vast majority of the speakers to speak directly using the PAS. For the audience either they listen to the PAS when it is one of the two languages they understand, either to the translation equipment available in the room. Compare to the main scenario 2 this means that everyone should be equipped with the related receiving equipment.
The three scenarios have negative and positive aspects and bear very different budget consequences. The experience of Mumbai proves to be very negative on the speakers’ point of view if their voice is not using the PAS. Therefore the main scenario we will select for this report is the main scenario 1.
They are several types of equipment that will be dealt with: FM (based on transmitters and receivers using batteries. It is a derivative of the widely spread and most common media.), electro-magnetic loop or EML for the rest of this report (based on copper circles to be built inside the conference halls and on receivers either using batteries or not. It is a derivative of a technology used for people with hearing disability in public buildings in the UK, France and elsewhere), wired plugs (to be used in small numbers only therefore in smaller conference rooms and for a limited number of persons).
The audio system in each room is not dealt with in this report because it usually comes outside of the “translation issue”. It is usually built around microphone and loud-speakers and mixing-tables in case of several microphones. The mixing-tables will prove to be essential in the main scenario 2 in all the rooms as the voice in the loud-speakers will come from different sources (speaker or interpreter). They can be very simple (and should be as simple as possible) in order to be managed by volunteers which will be trained to use them. Of course all these equipments have a cost but we will not deal with it in this budget for the above mentioned reason.
Nomad scenario 1
One language is using FM while all the others are using EML. The FM language should be chosen from the “majority languages” either ES or EN or PT. In the FM bandwidth (88 to 108 Mhz) we could build around 100 different channels. This means that in each room there will be a different channel for the same language and people will have to tune their receiver to this one. This will avoid the overlapping which can exist between rooms if they are next to each other.
All the other languages will be using EML. The circle will be built around a given area in each room. The size of the area should be determined following estimates of the attendance in this given language
The number of FM emitters is equal to around 60 in the case of an equal mixing between EML and FM in the smaller rooms. An FM emitter being at least 10 times more expansive (if not 20 times) than the EML for each room, the consequence in the budget is heavy.
Nomad scenario 2
2 or 3 languages are using the FM. In this case the FM channels should be distributed according to the locations of the conference rooms. This solution would imply to multiply by the number of languages the number of emitters. But will allow people to sit wherever in the room avoiding zoning languages in the case of various EML in the same room.
The other visible consequences will be related to the number of receivers needed and the number of batteries. You have to count an average of 2 batteries per receiver per day (batteries lasting around 6 hours of continuous use).
Nomad scenario 3
In all the small rooms where there are 2 languages, a wired system can be built. To avoid the technical problems of this system during the last WSF we will advocate that it will be build for around 15 to 20 people maximum. These people will seat around the interpreter booth and will just take the headsets that will be wired already around the booth (the booth will have therefore to integrate a small regular amplifier to provide the headsets with sound). The availability of headsets copes with the consistency issue and at the same time avoids the technical issues encountered with this technique during the last WSF.
In the bigger rooms FM and EML are used as before. This could limit the number of FM emitters around 20 in the case of Nomad scenario 1 or to 40 or 60 depending on the choice of the number of languages chosen in the Nomad scenario 2.
Nomad scenario budgeted in this report
The scenario budgeted in this report is a mix of the different scenarios.
All of these should be discussed with the Organizing Committee in order for decisions to be taken or option taken. We feel that the end of July is a key date for this. Another evaluation of the situation should be done in September therefore after 2 months of implementing the first decision with local actors and international groups and volunteers.
A final evaluation should be made in the beginning of November (see Timetable at the beginning of this report). We feel nevertheless that the overall general budget coming from the following proposed scenario, should be the framework for all the other scenarios that can be built. The goal is to find budgetary solutions to allow the political spirit of the WSF5 to prove to be efficient and economically feasible and reachable by all in all other SF configuration through out the world. Our goal is therefore at the opposite of “spending money” although some have to be used in order to provide to all the ability to participate in his/her language as much as possible whether these persons are actually in POA during the WSF or somewhere else in the world or even afterward thanks to the “Memory projects”.
20 rooms (10 with 5 languages and 10 with 3 languages) with Computer/Ethernet and FM as well as wired to booth technology and/or EML. This involves 40 FM transmitters, 20 EML and 20 wired booths (for small language group around 20 people).
For the 80 smaller rooms, a combination of ELM and direct booth wiring. No network of computers for support.
The wired booths in each conference hall enable each languages whatever technology used in bigger rooms to be chosen from in the smaller rooms. This means that all languages are possible in all the rooms.
The proposition will be centered therefore around two main technologies: 2 FM languages and 2 EML languages, the other languages using the wired-booth settings. The FM languages have to be chosen to take in account the induce cost of this technology ie the batteries which can prove to be expensive for people (2 batteries a day per receiver to be bought as an average) and the fact that the receiver itself is fairly good quality one not only to provide abilities to select channels precisely during the WSF, but to be of used when people are taking them back home.
The proposition could be for instance that ES and PT are EML languages while EN and FR are FM languages taking in account the fact that ES and PT speakers are coming from the region and that EML receivers do not induced extra-cost for the batteries.
The technical choices made have also consequences on the number of interpreters and number of languages that can be accommodated. We will present different scenarios ending with a preferred one that will be budgeted which will of course match the Nomad one.
The number of events a day is an important piece of information. We will evaluate this according to previous WSF. Each day of the WSF there will be 3 periods of time: morning, afternoon and evening, during which events will take place. This means that there is a need for 2 teams of interpreters in order to provide translation at all time during the whole WSF day, 5 days in a row. Interpreters are working by pair in one booth during one event.
The number of interpreters to match 100 rooms, 3 times a day, with 2 languages for 80 rooms, 3 languages for 10 rooms and 5 languages for 10 rooms is: 960 persons.
An emergency team (to replace missing volunteers during one event) will be built with part of the interpreters who are not on duty in a conference room for that period of time. Nevertheless there should be several pairs of interpreters in the main languages especially that are dedicated to emergency situations or exceptional situations appearing in the course of the WSF. We have to count around 40 pairs, more or less 10 in the 4 main languages: 80 people more.
Therefore a “Babels room” including a workplace and a resting area should accommodate around 300 persons (240 for the emergency team coming from the non in-duty interpreters + 40 for the emergency interpreters + some that can work, receive calls, organize replacement and so on). This room (close to the general public) should be within the venue itself to avoid as much as possible distance for one person to go to one point where his/her work is needed.
To welcome the interpreters, organize their work, manage each conference room checking how work is going and being able to call for replacements if needed, and so on, you will need around 70 persons.
Therefore the Babels team is around 1100 persons.
When speaking about languages available in a conference room who are speaking about the fact that any one within the room can listen to 100% of the content of the event in this language. This is not taking in account therefore the spoken speakers’ languages.
WSF languages will be artificially divided in two types of languages: majority languages (EN, ES, FR, PT) and minority languages (all the others). This division is based on the evaluation of number of people attending the WSF and understanding this or that language.
Babels scenario 1
2 languages will be at all time during all the events. This number of languages is corresponding to the lesser number of languages available in all the conference rooms. This implies that in the 80 rooms using 2 languages you will find only these languages.
Babels scenario 2
1 language will be at all time during all the events. This means that you can add at least 1 different language in each room corresponding to the evaluate attendance for each of the specific events. 1 more language for all the 80 rooms with 2 language, 2 more and 4 more for the other types of rooms.
Babels scenario 3
All languages are changing and can be mixed in all the rooms at all time depending on an evaluation of attendance for each of the event.
Whatever the scenarios, we will have to deal with variation, hence quotas between languages. These quotas can be coming from two different sources.
The other consequence is on the WSF printed program which should include for all the events the languages available for each room. This implies that the language issue should be included as soon as possible in the program methodology in order to cope with this issue. Whatever is the solution found to know the presence of any given language during the whole WSF, decisions should be made through a process enough open for interested groups, organizations, networks to participate to it. Because as stated in the first report outside of the practical languages linked with attendance of a given conference, they are political languages: Languages which bear an heavy meaning in relation with the topic discussed during a conference.
The minimum standards to start working are the following:
In the case of the Babels scenario 1 the implied quotas are as followed
If we are working on the Babels scenario 2 you can have a situation as following
If we are working on the Babels scenario 3 you can imagine a situation where all have a quota of 80%. This results in the presence of 44 languages.
Of course choices can be made according to these minimal standards or others: Once again, quotas are just a way to work on concrete numbers of interpreters per language they can be re-evaluate at all time, until the end of the program-group work (November).
In addition we feel that we should develop the notion of “WSF work language”: It is a language that people can find in at least 1 event during the whole day. Therefore this will allow people understanding this language to follow a minimum of 1 conference during each period of time during the whole WSF. Since you need two teams of interpreters (two pairs) per language this is changing to 12 Minority languages for the Babels scenario 2 (16 languages total) and or to 22 minority languages for the Babels scenario 3 (26 total).
It seems that it will be more realistic and more efficient to work on a Babels scenario type 2 (1 language becoming therefore what is called a pivotal language found in all the cases). However this implies discussions because not all Minority languages are necessarily equal: some might need to be present more often than for 1 conference per period of time.
This can lower the total number of languages but develop the presence of some. Furthermore we can very well imagine leaving some place for other languages than the “work language” providing the fact that these languages are known in advance (before the start of the WSF) and that related interpreters are brought along by the organizations or groups of organizations sponsoring this event.
According to the choice made in the Nomad scenarios we can draw the following proposals.
EML languages can be directly present everywhere, either PT or ES. This could enable in all the conferences to have one language present at all time: For instance ES, for the reasons mentioned earlier, thus enabling speakers if speaking a version of that language (an international standardized one or “portugnol” to be directly understood by a vast majority of the public.
The FM languages can also directly or indirectly (wired booth) be present everywhere, either EN or FR. This could enable EN for instance to be present most of the time.
Important Note: with the main scenario 3 you could even imagine to have EN and ES present all the time using the same EML and using the PAS, providing the fact that we tell speakers that they will have to speak either Spanish or English to be heard directly in the PAS (this should cover at least 90% of the speakers language abilities). This configuration that we will call the low-budget, because it’ll be less than the other one, could even add one language in each room without modification of the costs. People are using receivers if not understanding the language in the PAS, either EN or ES.
This allows using a Babels scenario type 2 or 3. But whatever the scenario the choice of languages should be done, this implies a process. A first evaluation shows that we will need by booths (people translating into from another language) a minimum of: EN (208 persons), ES (208 persons), FR (208 persons), PT (208 persons). Other languages and their respective importance (number of events per day translated) are at this time still a question mark. Nevertheless we feel that AR-Arabic, JA-Japanese, KO-Korean, QU-Quechua, SW-Swahili have to be taken in account. Probably also, DE-German, GN-Guarani, HI-Hindi, IT-Italian, depending on the size of delegations one language from central or eastern Europe (either HU-Hungarian, PL-Polish, RU-Russian), TH-Thai, TR-Turkish, WO-Wolof. Questions marks can be related to “political language” not corresponding to size of delegations but to the significance this could have in relation with other languages like KU-Kurdish (if TR), like He-Hebrew (if AR).
If all are taken in the WSF would be in 19 languages. Depending on how you link languages to a geography there will be African languages (2 or 3 with the AR), Asian languages (4), West Asia or Middle East (4 with the AR), American languages (2 or 6 with European languages counting for this), European languages (7).
The number of languages have no impact on the budget because we are building it around an average round-trip Sao Paulo – POA or Buenos Aires – POA or Montevideo – POA, distributing the budget evenly. The number of people found in POA and/or alternate solutions for transportation from Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Montevideo (organizing buses for instance) allow people from further to come within the same budget framework.
You can follow the discussion on this topic on the Babels Forum
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