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 Home > Event-related > World Social Forum > World Social Forum 2005 > INFO Bulletins

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INFO 7: Booth Planning/BaBOO

(Date: 13 January 2005)

Babels coordinators for the WSF-2005 discussed the question of booth planning early in November in Porto Alegre taking into account the ideas developed in the Forum with all the volunteers during the last few months. Several proposals were adopted which change the planning methods used by Babels in previous forums. These new proposals should make the planning process clearer and more efficient.

1. Booth-planning methodology used for the WSF-2005

Pairing interpreters

- Pairing interpreters: each volunteer will work with the same person in the booth for the first 2 days of the forum, then everyone will change partner for the remaining 2 days of the forum. There may be exceptions to this plan.
- Pairing interpreters with different proficiency levels: non-experienced interpreters will be paired with experienced interpreters (see INFO 6: Experienced/Inexperienced).
- Pairing interpreters from different parts of the world: whenever possible, we will try to pair interpreters from differing countries. Many interpreters in past forums found it more interesting to work with people that came from different countries.

Workload and Thematic areas

- Shifts per day: Each volunteer interpreter will work between 2 and a maximum of 3 shifts a day. There will be 3 shifts a day, but up to 4 shifts a day in Thematic Areas 1, 8, 9 and 11 (for details, see Report on meetings in São Paulo). Each shift is supposed to last up to 3 hours. Our aim is to make sure that nobody will work more than what would be expected of a professional interpreter in a commercial job.
- Resting periods: whenever possible, Babels coordinators in charge of the planning will seek to allow interpreters to have as much rest as possible. We have already prepared a Babels resting room within the WSF Territory with sofas, mattresses and a refrigerator. This way, volunteers will be able to rest without having to travel far.
- Choosing a Thematic area: all the volunteers that had been confirmed early in November were given the possibility of selecting which of the 11 Thematic areas they preferred to work in. Only the first 65% of the volunteers were able to select one or various Thematic areas. This is an experiment: this is the first time we are able to try to have interpreters select the areas they are interested in. Choosing one’s Thematic area only gives the Babels workgroup in charge of planning an idea of each person’s "wish-list". In no way can we guarantee that these wishes will be actually taken into account, though we will try our best!

Example of one interpreter’s schedule

An ideal schedule could look like this:

Day Session 1 lunch Session 2 Session 3 Session 4
27 X lunch X standby free
28 free lunch X X X
29 free lunch standby X X
30 X lunch X X free

X = work
Standby: this means that you are expected to wait in the Babels room until the session begins in case there is an emergency (one interpreter falls ill, etc.)
free = free time

Note: this is an *ideal* schedule. Each volunteer’s schedule may vary considerably from this model.

2. BaBOO: Babels BOOth Planning Software

To help the Babels workgroup in charge of booth-planning, two volunteer programmers are working on BaBOO, a computer program they had created in London for the ESF04 Babels project. Jean-Michel and Patrick will try to make it possible for coordinators to do the booth-planning in a centralized manner, using a central database via internet. This will make it possible for all coordinators to have precise information on all the interpreters.

BaBOO will also be useful for interpreters, since they will be able to receive their schedule by email. It might also be possible for interpreters to check their schedule online and see if there were any changes (this feature is experimental). Along with their schedule, interpreters will receive information allowing them to contact the person with whom they will be working in the booth.

BaBOO is an experimental tool currently under development. Not all features might be available before the WSF-2005, but our two volunteer programmers are doing their best to make BaBOO fully operational before the Forum begins.

If you want to talk about issues discussed in this INFO bulletin, please go to the Babels forum

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