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Outreach Report


Outreach means increasing the pool of interpreters registered in Babels.
After 3 European Social Forums (Florence, Paris, London), one World Social Forum and one Social Forum of the Americas (Quito) there are some coordinations with such a pool of interpreters that there is no huge need of outreach.

However, as Babels is in permanent construction, some coordinations that are very new or about to be built need to develop good outreach strategies in order to ensure that the involvement of Babels interpreters is widespread in terms of territories and languages. As it is Babels principle to involve not only people from all over Europe but also from the local area, Babels-uk challenge in view of London Social Forum, was to increase the pool of interpreters based in the UK regardless of their working languages.

Outreach protocol
1. Send an email through the Babels database to all the registered Babelitos and Babelitas to ask them if they are interested in taking part in London ESF
2. UK Coordinators involved in the process to send calls for interpreters in every meeting they go
3. Research and contact NGOs, professional associations, student unions and associations, schools, universities, professional associations, institutions employing interpreters, etc
4. Contact via phone, fax and/or email
5. Send documentation on Babels and a call for interpreters
6. Attend ESF outreach meeting and spread the call directly through the activist community

Outreach material
There are 2 types of outreach:
1. Global outreach: sort of activities that brings numbers of interpreters regardless of their languages. This strategy is implemented above all at the beginning of the process.
2. Targeted outreach: to find specific languages according to the last minute linguistic needs when the ESF programme is finally edited.

poster Esf poster
call for interpreters Babels call for interpreters
Appeal Babels Appeal

Outreach outcomes

Comparison before the ESF, after the ESF (waiting for Yan’s documents)

Negative points:

1. Babels-uk had no access to the contact lists of the ESF which reduced considerably the scope and impact of the outreach (apart from the outreach activities the ESF organisors were doing separately from Babels, they were contacted by lots of organisations whose contacts were stored in a database. This database was then very useful to send out calls for volunteers. Due to political tensions, Babels was not invited to use this database).

2. As the volunteers are asked to register in Babels through the database and the database does not allow seeing which interpreters are newcomers, it is very difficult to follow through the outcomes of it once the outreach material is spread. In order to know who recently registered in the database, we had to download spreadsheets from the database and compare manually with the last spreadsheet. This was a problem not only for outreach but also for selection.

3. As the outreach is done by the territory coordination and the selection by the linguistic coordination, the interpreter who lives in the UK and is not English native for example gets confused and does not know who is the person to liaise with and for what. There is also a risk of duplicating the work in each coordination.

4. Toward the end of the process, the outreach has been done by new coordinators in the office. The figures and appendix show that they did a great job but also that some mistakes were made in the redaction of the outreach material due to a lack of knowledge of Babels.


1. Make sure that all the resources and contacts lists are shared with the wider ESF process

2. Modification of the database: It is very important in the future to be able to identify the interpreters who are newcomers in the database so the coordination in charge of the outreach can have a direct and individual contact with them.

3. Distinction between the linguistic coordination and the territory coordination:
- territory coordination: outreach, participation to debates, coordination, organisation, projects, sitprep, lexicons, room coordinators, political awareness, etc.
- linguistic coordination: final word on selection of the interpreters making sure that the quotas are respected, quality assessment, etc The quotas should have been established at the European level and not the UK)

4. Need to compile some documents for the new coordinators in order to ensure that if the coordinators with more experience don’t have time to give an exhaustive briefing, any Babels volunteer gets to know properly the network’s principles and aims through other means.


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