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 Home > Event-related > World Social Forum > World Social Forum 2005 > Debriefing reports

[ en es pt ]

Selection and Travel: part 2

WSF 2005 Debriefing reports
(Date: 10 March 2005)

Part 1- Remote email and database based process

Part 2- Local coordinations: reports on the selection process

2- Local coordinations: reports on the selection process

- Argentina
- Brazil: Porto Alegre
- Brazil: São Paulo
- Brazil: Rio de Janeiro
- Brazil: North/North-East
- Colombia
- Ecuador
- Perú
- Uruguay


Report in process.

Porto Alegre

Report in process.

São Paulo

Report: Luis Rizzo

I work in BABELS São Paulo and I started working in the written translation group. Then I migrated to the simultaneous interpreting group and helped reading and answering e-mails of newcomers until before the Forum starts. During the Forum I was supposed to work only in interpreting.There were a lot of things to do so I worked two days in the written translation and two days in the International Council Meeting doing the interpretation in the English to Spanish booth. I helped in the Booth Planification group while I was in Gasometro at night. I participated in the Latin America meetings and coordinate the last meeting.

Selection Methodology from São Paulo

BABELS started in São Paulo in August 2004. In the first meetings there were a lot of different people each coming over and the WSF and BABELS history and work had to be explained to the new people over and over again.

By September we started to raise questions about what were the issues and how we could solve it. We decided to work in 3 teams, the written Translation Group, the Simultaneous Interpreting Group amd the Mobilization Group.

Each of the Groups were responsible for some specific tasks that needed to be done in a certain time.

So we began to work and mobilise.

The Written Translation Group began with Monica Nehr and I doing the translations and mobilising those who wanted to join the team. We established a test for the newcomers and they had to take it in order we could evaluate their work. Monica did the job of coordinating these group and give / pass the translations for the rest of us. She managed to do it and the São Paulo written translation group contributed in the WSF website office during the WSF2005.

The Mobilization Group took the list of people who live in São Paulo registered in the BABELS site and started to call those to the meetings. There were 4 people each one calling to 50 other people. After that we replied the e-mails from people.

Simultaneous translation

Two coordinators of these team (Henrique and Patrícia) are former students of a interpreting college in São Paulo, UNIBERO. They talked with their teachers and the school let us use their “laboratory”, a room with capacity for more or less 60 people seated, a booth with for 3 people and all the necessary equipment. We did a training process wih volunteers and profesionals since September 2004 until 2 weeks before the beginning of the Forum. We asked a lot of people of social movements to come and give speeches or sometimes we had prints of the material of the other WSFs founded in the WSF website.

We (Henrique, Graziela, Leda, Luis, Monica and Patricia) agreed with some points in order to select those who would go to POA.

Everybody had to get in the booth and talk. Even those who were profesionals had to do it. We had to listen to all. So there were some people who thought they would go and didn’t come into the booth in the last minute. We had to listen to everybody and before saying yes or no to the person we talked with each other to see if there would be another chance or not. We specify criterias like shadowing (interpreter follows the person who is speaking), “bring the text” (bring the idea of the speech, the sentence), general knowledge of the topic, (know the specific terms of the WSF debates), pauses, if the person breathed in the microphone or not and the atitude of the person towards others inside and outside the booth.

Those people who were selected went through these training process and had the idea of what an interpreter, its difficulties and issues. Finally they knew how to work in the booth.

We worked to schedule all the plane tickets and the trip to the airport.

We think we did a selection proccess that brought people who can deal technically and psychologically (very important) inside the booth. In the first meeting they didn’t know nothing or little about interpreting and/or Social Movements / Social Forums.

We brought to Porto Alegre 47 people of Interpreting Group, 15 people of Written Translation Group and 3 people of Room Coordination Group. Total = 65 people from São Paulo. People should meet the alredy mentioned standards in order to get into the booth / write a good translation to perform a good job.

Of course it’s not only roses here. We had problems, of course we had them.

We had a hard time with annoying people who wanted to jeopardized the entire process.

About the selection process we saw 2 situations:

1.Those people who live in São Paulo and came from these city without training and selecting. Those people are selected by other coordinators in BABELS.

2. Those people who were not selected, who fail to go through one coordinations and went to the WSF by contacting other local coordinations.


The selection process in a whole could work better if we exchange more information and could see the real demand of languages, people and budgeting before and during the selection process.

BABELS must have mechanisms to select those people who are not performing well. We somehow manage to do that in São Paulo by having specific criteria for the selecting process. It was clear for everybody that there were rules and those who didn’t follow the rules didn’t go. There were procedures and common agreements on the minimum requirements. So no one could talk later that there was something personal.

We, as BABELS, should think about the following:

1. Create specific criteria on how someone become a coordinator of anything within BABELS. After that create tools to evaluate those people.

2. Important problems should be given to a group of people located in different countries. Those people should report their work in a certain period of time to all BABELS.

2. Disseminate information

3. Create real evaluations on performance and tackle the problems raised as soon as posible.

We need to establish some few procedures for BABELS. The coordinators are the first ones who must know these procedures and attain to them.

1. We should know personally the people we are bringing.

2. We should see if those people can perfom really well in the booth.

3. We should see if the people we are selecting are committed to their work.

4. We should try to know how the person handles pressure.
And so on.

Rio de Janeiro

Report: Erica Resende and Rebecca Atkinson

The mobilization process in Rio de Janeiro began in late October in a meeting at IBASE where the Babels project was presented. Some 10 professional interpreters were present, at that time with Pascal responsible for local coordination. We decided to motivate other colleagues working in Rio and we scheduled another meeting for the beginning of November. In order to facilitate communication amongst interpreters, we decided to open a discussion group on the Yahoo site. Our objective was to mobilize some 40 to 50 professionals from Rio de Janeiro amongst colleagues active in the market and former students of local interpreting schools.

In early November, we realized that few people had registered at the site as volunteers, as they had not received email confirmations of their participation in the WSF. We made a general call to all those interested to register at the site and to update their records in the database. We chose Erica Resende to go to Porto Alegre for the IC meeting.

We only became aware of the size of the Babels network in Porto Alegre, with its parallel projects such as Lexicon, partnership with Nomad, communication instruments, database, etc. At the next meeting, we decided to step up mobilization to reach the number of 60 volunteers, and decided to include interpreting students in addition to professionals. Meanwhile, due to the success of our communication via the Yahoo site, the use of Babels communications tools was rejected for a number of reasons (lack of familiarity with IT tools, consensus regarding effectiveness of communication via the Yahoo list, excessive number of emails and communications from other regions, ’technophobia’, etc.). Nonetheless, we made sure to always copy the minutes of our meetings and major communications to the Babels site, in the part dedicated to Brazil. The person responsible for this task was Juan Doblas, who worked together with Luis Gustavo in São Paulo. This ensured that any member of the network could, if interested, become informed regarding our activities.

Due to a decision to concentrate selection on professionals and interpreting students, training of interpreters was given second place. A further factor in deciding thus was the fact that we had no support institution that could offer us an adequate location for interpreter training.

During this period our coordinator, Pascal, had to leave the project for professional reasons. Erica Resende took over his tasks, with the help of Marcelo Neves. Several other interpreters took responsibility for the assessment and training process of the inexperienced volunteers.

When our quota rose from 60 to 90 persons, and given the demand for native speakers of German, Italian and other languages, we decided to select non-professional volunteers from the Babels database. We selected some 50 names of non-professionals from the nearly 180 volunteers (numbers from November) that lived in the Rio de Janeiro area, whose profiles matched the needs of the event (native speakers of PT, EN, FR, DE and IT with passive knowledge of at least two foreign languages). All were invited to an assessment session held in December. We divided those present according to language combinations. Assessment was conducted by professional interpreters who were native speakers in each language (Pascal and Annie, FR; Rebecca and Erica, EN; Luciana Ache and Kena, ES) We were unable to perform a more reliable assessment of inexperienced native speakers in IT and DE due to a lack of professional interpreters who were native speakers of those languages.

Only in January were we able to utilize a room at IBASE, but, due to the school holidays, end of year festivities and professional commitments of interpreters, training was insufficient. In all, we were able to hold 8 assessment/training sessions, with a professional interpreter as instructor and some 4 or 5 beginners in each.

We should mention that we received a huge number of last minute candidates during the first weeks of January, making the number of volunteers jump from 180 to 220. The inclusion of these new volunteers was only accepted in exceptional cases: native speakers of FR, HE, AR or professional interpreters.

Out of our quota of 90 volunteers, we managed to mobilize 35 professionals who were native speakers of PT (23), ES (2), EN (5), FR (2), DE (2), and RU (1), with 15 of the 22 interpreters who were native speakers of PT able to also work in EN and FR booths. We sent the list of names by email to Laurent and German in early January. The remaining volunteers were beginners who were native speakers of PT, IT, DE and HE, approved in the assessment sessions conducted by professional interpreters responsible for each passive language tested.

Simultaneously, we sought to select beginners who, in addition to mastering foreign languages, had other differentiating traits such as undergraduate or graduate degrees in Economics, Sociology, Political Science, International Relations, etc in addition to qualification as translators and/or conference interpreting experience. In a consensus decision among the two coordinators and five interpreters responsible for assessment, we selected some 5 volunteers who, despite the fact that they lacked the required traits, should be encouraged to participate in an experience such as the WSF. The idea of setting up a quota of this type had been discussed and agreed upon in previous meetings in Rio. These individuals, not suited to act as interpreters, were assigned as room coordinators and to other coordinating activities. The list containing these names was transmitted to Laurent and Yan.

We must mention the lack of a suitable location to conduct training as a negative aspect of the selection and training process (two interpreting schools refused to lend us their training rooms), as well as the end-of-year calendar of activities - which coincided with the end of the school year, end of year festivities, vacation for several volunteers who failed to answer emails in a timely manner, etc, in addition to the lack of training material in PT on the CD prepared by Ecos (beginning native speakers of IT, DE, HE, FR, EN and ES had no access to conferences recorded in PT to interpret into their respective languages. The alternative solutions found (video and radio recordings) were not satisfactory.

As a positive aspect, we would note the large number of professional interpreters mobilized in Rio de Janeiro. We could have reached as high a number as 50, if several had not pulled out due to professional commitments assumed the week the WSF was held, principally because of the lack of definition regarding housing and issuing of tickets. We feel that in the next two years it will be possible to mobilize some 60 to 80 professional interpreters from Rio de Janeiro.

Lastly, we must comment on the issue of housing and tickets. Tickets only began to be issued from January 18th to 21st, coinciding with the holiday in Rio de Janeiro and only 4 days before the planned arrival date in Porto Alegre. Therefore, and also due to a municipal holiday in São Paulo on January 25th, local coordinators were obliged to oversee the issue of some 90 tickets - with their respective and unavoidable alterations of flight schedules - all in a period of 96 hours.

Concurrently, due to the long holiday in Rio de Janeiro (Thursday to Sunday), several volunteers were out of town and had no internet access. This resulted in many tickets not being received in time for departure, volunteers missing flights, etc. Furthermore, with such late purchase of tickets, better prices and more amenable flight schedules were not possible. We ended up arriving one or two days later than what would have been ideal and leaving two or three days later than necessary, which generated additional lodging expenses.

Our suggestion on this point is to make issuing of tickets more localized and with greater autonomy in order better prices such as group flights instead of individual tickets. Moreover, this would create fewer problems and less concern for those awaiting a definition as to whether or not they would be participating in the WSF.

Assessment and recommendations:

  1. The group of 90 volunteers was very large and quite diverse. Our intention is to conduct an assessment on their participation in order to streamline the group of Rio volunteers, seeking to increase the number of participating professional interpreters. We have already begun doing this. Our objective is to reach the number of 60 interpreters in 2 years. This decision represents our option to seek quality and linguistic diversity instead of quantity of volunteers. We shall therefore encourage our Rio colleagues to become part of Babels and mobilize in local interpreting schools (which was not done this time).
  2. Inexperienced volunteers who did well in Porto Alegre and who demonstrate potential in conference interpreting will be considered and encouraged to undertake more intensive training for future WSF events.
  3. All of the local professional interpreters lamented not having worked more shifts, as their understanding was that they could have worked 3 shifts a day. The perception is that the WSF is an atypical event and cannot be subject to comparison to traditional events in the Brazilian interpreting market. This is the reason behind the desire to work a little more than the beginners. This argument is further justified when we see that one of the criteria for lodging was to reserve hotel rooms for professionals as these would carry a larger load of the work than others, therefore needing more rest.
  4. Providing greater autonomy to local coordinators regarding issuing of tickets, lodging, welcome, etc. Only people at the local level know about the needs of that level and the best options for transportation, for example.
  5. We believe that the general perception of the WSF as a positive experience for professional interpreters can motivate our local colleagues to also join the network, thus overcoming the resistance and threat of retaliation that was announced. Therefore, instead of directing resources and energy into training beginners, we intend to begin a campaign of clarification with the local professional market, in order to motivate and mobilize a larger number of local professionals. If we were to overcome problems arising from late issue of tickets and lack of definition regarding lodging, we could gain some 10 more professionals.
  6. Lastly, we wish to straiten ties with other local Brazilian groups, specifically regions South, São Paulo and the Northeast (an intense partnership already exists between regions Rio, Mid-West and North). We believe that a greater exchange of ideas and information should take place amongst these groups so that we can move away from being perceived as Babels Rio, Babels SP, Babel Mid-West, etc., to become Babels Brazil.

Brasil: Norde/Nordeste

Report: Robert Finnegan

This is a brief report on the selection/ training process in the North and Northeast regions of Brazil.

This report follows my individual activities quite closely as I was/am the only Babels coordinator in these two regions, which geographically correspond to 45.27% (3.869.637,9 km2) and 18.26% (1.561.177,8 km2) of Brazil, respectively

As I had participated in the ESF2003 as an interpreter and expressed desire to work more closely with Babels, I was invited to become a coordinator and to participate in the WSF preparation meeting in Porto Alegre in May 2004 and the Babels meeting in Brussels in July 2004.

In May 2004, I sent a series of emails to known professionals, discussion lists, university interpreting courses, calling for volunteers for the WSF2005 and began corresponding with respondents, debating in public forums with interested professionals and the sceptical, eventually directing them to register at the Babels website.

In July 2004, I participated in the ASF in Quito as interpreter and coordinator.

After the ASF, I wrote and submitted a critical report to Babels, which was lost and I spent several months with communication problems with the rest of the network.

The sheer size of the North/Northeast regions of Brazil prohibited me from doing more than corresponding by email and referring questions to the Babels website.

Upon reestablishing communication with Babels, I received the details of the volunteers registered in Brazil in early December. As the list was for the entire country, I separated the names by region and sent lists to the other regional coordinators in Brazil.

Within the North/Northeast regions, I concentrated on known professionals and asked these to recommend/ vouch for others on the list from their or nearby cities and states.

In early December, I received the ECOS training DVDs. I made copies and distributed them to the registered volunteers in Belém and encouraged those in other regions to request or download them.

During this period (December- early January) I sent several messages to the volunteers in my regions, asking for confirmation of their availability but I myself was unable to confirm to those interested whether or not they would participate.

In mid-January I was informed that there were not enough interpreters selected and that I should accept all candidates available.

Many of those who had previously confirmed, backed out during the last week, mainly due to the lack of definition on our part.

In the end, some professionals and/or experienced interpreters did not have their tickets purchased and so, although available, did not participate.

As I was active as an interpreter during WSF, I had little time to oversee interpreters from my regions, referring them to the coordinators at the Gasometro building.

The WSF itself is a positive and hope-inspiring process and so all those I did talk to were very positive about the experience. Some volunteers expressed the desire to have done more, while others, unfortunately, did as little as possible. In my opinion, steps should be taken to avoid selecting the latter for future events.


  1. Form a separate regional coordination for Northeastern Brazil (possibly even two)
  2. Decentralized decision-making would improve oversight, logistics, credibility.
  3. Assessment of volunteers is important to use our scarce resources as efficiently as possible.
  4. Evaluate our ’carrying capacity’ – how many reliable interpreters we can provide – instead of receiving the number needed and filling that number with people who are unable to do the job (quality vs quantity).


Report: Monica Salom

ENGLISH Translation to follow

Para el FSM 2005, Babels Colombia aceptó las decisiones tomadas en POA en la reunión de Agosto sobre la selección. Allí se definieron varias etapas como consta en INFO…

El proceso de Movilización y el de selección estuvieron coordinados estrechamente.

Primera etapa:

Se confirmaron los intérpretes PROFESIONALES, residentes en Colombia y que habían estado en Quito así como los de Experiencia. Se envió un mail automático a todos los inscritos, y a partir de su respuesta de aceptación(algunos profesionales no respondieron) se fue haciendo la lista de seleccionados.

Segunda etapa:

Se hicieron reuniones de movilización, y se difundió el llamado a través de universidades, escuelas de Lenguas, radios comunitarias, con el fin de que los interesados se inscribieran y comenzaran la preparación.

Tercera Etapa:

Los profesionales voluntarios, con disponibilidad de tiempo, integrantes de Babels que nos habían acompañado en Quito formaron un grupo responsable de la selección para POA y se dividieron por Lenguas:Inglés, Francés y Portugués, para asesorar y guiar a los futuros debutantes, voluntarios para POA. Se escribieron documentos con ejercicios que cada cual podía realizar por si mismo, reflexiones sobre que es la interpretaciön y que se espera de un traductor y se acordó una fecha para la evaluacion de voluntarios. (Estos documentos fueron enviados a numerosos coordinadores locales o intérpretes aislados que deseaban entrenarse por su cuenta).

Cuarta Etapa. Evaluación definitiva:

Esta fecha fue el día 4 de diciembre, durante el FORO SOCIAL COLOMBIA, ya que las conferencias y el ambiente ofrecían una situación real, con un público vivo aunque no estuviera siguiendo la traducción, y el voluntario sin experiencia podía evaluar realmente su habilidad para hacerlo, además de entrar en contacto con el vocabulario del proceso Foro.

Allí los profesionales encargados de la evaluación, despues del feed back correspondiente, hicieron una lista de candidatos hábiles para POA, con sus puntos fuertes y débiles, y algunos de estos fueron llevados a participar en POA, además de los nuevos profesionales Babels que no estaban inscritos para el FSA.

En Colombia carecemos de Escuelas de Interpretación. la única Facultad de interpretación en Bogotá se cerró en el año 1975. Los nuevos profesionales han tenido que estudiar fuera y hay muchos que se han hecho en la práctica y viven de ello.

En su gran mayoría los integrantes de Babels Colombia para POA forman parte del grupo de intérpretes profesionales de Colombia y son personas mayores de gran recorrido y calidad reconocida internacionalmente.

Respetando los principios de Babels, se llevaron 3 First experience, avalados por los profesionales, así como a algunos ocasionales, pero seguros de la calidad y responsabilidad de su participación. Hubiera sido muy frustrante que los voluntarios se prepararan y esforzaran parta luego decirles que a POA sólo irían los profesionales. Si Babels promete, debemos cumplir siempre y cuando la calidad esté esegurada.

Este concepto de la calidad es muy importante, y para el futuro mas vale que seamos pocos pero buenos, que muchos y pésimos. Hay que continuar preparándose para los próximos Foros y poder garantizar al público y a las organizaciones del Foro una interpretación de calidad, no solo a través de los intérpretes que estuvimos presentes y firmes donde se nos requirió, sino con un equipo igualmente fiable y de calidad de sonido, para poder hacer un trabajo profasional como lo merecen los que estamos luchando por un mundo mejor.

La gran frustración después de tres foros, Mumbai, Quito y POA es que no hemos podido realizar un trabajo satisfactorio para todos por falta de equipo. Intérpretes sin equipo no podemos trabajar, no todos manejan las técnicas de la consecutiva y el chuchotage es contaproducente desde muchos aspectos. Allí es donde debemos centrar nuestra reflexión, que pasa con el equipo?Nomad es un proyecto fabuloso, pero debemos replantear las relaciones Babels Nomad. Muchos no desean participar mas si no tienen los instrumentos profesionales adecuados para realizar su labor a cabalidad.


Report: Maricruz González C.

ENGLISH Translation to follow

Tomé la coordinación Babels Ecuador para el FSM 2005 luego de haber participado como intérprete en el Foro Social de las Américas. Por la falta de tiempo, mi nivel de colaboración se limitó a reunir y capacitar intérpretes y principiantes.

Para iniciar, recibí de la Coordinación Colombia una lista de aproximadamente 60 personas que se habían inscrito. Si bien yo me propuse como contacto en Ecuador, era necesario reunir a las personas que supuestamente estaban interesadas para saber si estarían de acuerdo, ya que había otra persona que también planteó su interés, Jorge León. A vuelta de correo, recibí un gran número de confirmaciones de asistencia a la primera reunión de Babels Ecuador, que se había convocado en las oficinas de Jorge. Curiosamente, a pesar de ciertas confirmaciones, nadie más que Jorge y yo asistimos a esa primera “reunión”. De todas maneras, insistí en mi interés en coordinar Babels acá y en eso se quedó ya que Jorge a la final dijo que no tenía tiempo.

El segundo paso fue informar acerca de la reunión fallida y convocar a una nueva. Poco después, alrededor de octubre, realizamos la primera reunión con cuatro personas interesadas en colaborar: una estudiante de Lenguas Aplicadas a Negocios, primera experiencia, con inglés y francés; un estudiante de ingeniería en sistemas que había colaborado en el Foro de las Américas, con francés; un antropólogo con experiencia en interpretación en inglés; y yo, la única intérprete profesional, con inglés y español como activos y francés, italiano y portugués como pasivos.

De ahí en adelante, continué convocando por un mes a todas las personas a las que había escrito en un inicio, a pesar de que a la final el grupo estable, junto con las personas arriba indicadas, quedó en seis personas, incluyéndome. Comenzamos los entrenamientos de una forma totalmente rudimentaria, ya que ninguno tenía acceso a equipos sin costo. Lo que yo hice con algunas personas fue llevarles a la cabina cuando yo trabajaba, por lo menos para que vieran lo que estaban por hacer. Mientras tanto, practicábamos con textos que yo tenía sobre casi todos los temas que se iba a tratar en el Foro. Trabajábamos con grabaciones caseras en dos vías, con la televisión y DVD.

Con el pasar de los meses se unieron tres personas más a las que fuimos poniendo al día, con inglés y francés. Unas dos semanas antes de la fecha del Foro, fui informada que se requería más gente, así es que acepté a una persona a la que no conocía y que nunca tuvo ningún tipo de entrenamiento, cosa que informé. También en los últimos días, averigüé que estaba inscrita una intérprete con mucha experiencia en portugués a la que yo no conocía e invité a las dos últimas reuniones. Ella tiene mucha experiencia, así es que también ayudó a dar los “últimos toques” en recomendaciones y técnicas a los novatos. Los únicos otros dos profesionales que aceptaron, a último momento tuvieron que negarse por motivos personales.

Las convocatorias fueron hechas en el medio de traductores profesionales y de estudiantes. Debido a la falta de tiempo, realmente no pude contactarme en forma más oficial con escuelas de lenguas, especialmente en el idioma quichua, que no llevó la delegación ecuatoriana (ahora estoy trabajando en ello).

Al igual que en otros lugares, en el Ecuador no existe una escuela de Interpretación, así es que no tuvimos un lugar “oficial” a dónde acudir.

En mi opinión acerca del proceso de selección, leí algún correo en donde alguna coordinadora (Argentina, me parece) solicitaba fondos para la preparación de los principiantes. Si bien yo no la apoyé con un email, ya había pensado que esos serían fondos muy bien invertidos desde todo punto de vista: conseguir mayor calidad, dar oportunidades profesionales a futuros potenciales intérpretes y acercar a más gente al Foro de una manera más profesional.


Report: Gabriela Puente-Arnao G.

Peruvian selection process for Babels volunteering in the WSF2005

It had two parts: a) data collection and b) interview.

Data collection

  1. Invitation was sent to volunteers selected from the Babels database and from the other sources (Babels database, reliable recommendations, answers to the call sent to the Peruvian Association of Translators and to the two Universities for Interpretation, and e-mails received through
  2. E-mails were answered and a detailed and short description of their interpretation experiences was asked.
  3. Résumés were received and reviewed, as well as information on experience.
  4. Data were checked against Babels database information.
  5. A separate database was created for the Peruvian group.
  6. Selected volunteers were called to a personal interview where information provided was verified and communication capabilities tested, among other factors (willingness, attitude, etc.).
  7. According to that, volunteers went through the agreed confirmation process: ‘shortlist’, ‘confirmed’, etc.

The interview

The interview was an informal and friendly one which lasted around 30 to 45 minutes, according to the languages.

The following points were addressed:

  1. Knowledge of language.
  2. Interpretation experience (type of events, topics, references, etc.).
  3. Attitude.
  4. Awareness of the WSF.
  5. Main reasons/motivation to volunteer as Babels interpreter in the WSF.

Methodology of the interview

The interview was carried out switching from one language into another without giving notice of it beforehand, according to the volunteer’s languages.

Languages used: Spanish, French, English, Portuguese, Italian, and German.

There was not the possibility of assessing linguistic knowledge of Quechua. Therefore, Quechua interpreters submitted documented résumés and were interpreters who had also volunteered in the Quito FSA. One of them was interviewed.

The following aspects were taken into consideration for selection:

  1. Quality versus quantity.
  2. The lack of infrastructure for permanent or frequent training or workshops in Lima (only twice interpretation laboratories of one of the two Peruvian Universities for Interpretation were used for workshops).
  3. My responsibility, as coordinator for Babels-Peru for the people I had interviewed (in relation to this point, please note that vertical processes and surveillance/quality control should not be confused because the lack of the latter could put Babels’ goals at risk, as well as the WSF contents and purposes).

About the workshops

(This information is also related to the selection parameters)

During the first one, the equipment didn’t work; informative material on Babels was handed out. Human Rights and related topics were addressed and two volunteers offered to talk about their previous experiences in the Quito FSA. Ideas and interpretation experiences were also shared.

In the second workshop, although we had the laboratory it was impossible to use the computer or DVD to open the files. However, transcripts from previous forums were read and recorded while volunteers listened and then we all listened again and interpreted. Interpretations were supervised by Professor Esther. The equipment didn’t work well and we couldn’t listen to our interpretations. Interpretation and volunteer job ethics were also shared and discussed.

Non-professional first-experience interpreters who took part in the Peruvian group for the WSF2005, with the exception of the Quechua interpreters, were chosen based on their command of a third or fourth language -other than English; and communication capabilities. Still, this was risky in quality terms due to the lack of infrastructure for training.

E-mail communication with all the Peruvian volunteers was permanent and fluent during all the process.


Report: Fernanda Gerpe

ENGLISH Translation to follow

A continuación transcribo los informes escritos por los coordinadores de idioma, respecto al proceso de práctica, evaluación y selección de los voluntarios uruguayos. Los informes están separados por idioma ya que los procesos fueron diferentes, sin embargo antes de la trascripción cabe señalar algunas cuestiones que se aplican a todos ellos:

- Las reuniones generales de Babels UY tuvieron cada vez menos convocatoria a medida que se acercaba el FSM, por lo que los grupos de cada idioma se fueron reuniendo en distintas instancias para realizar sus prácticas. A excepción de inglés, grupo que tuvo más inscriptos, algunos de los cuales no participaron de instancias de práctica, el resto de los grupos se reunían periódicamente.
- Cada grupo fue buscando la manera de conseguir materiales e información acerca cómo enfrentarse a una situación de interpretación, ya que casi la totalidad de los voluntarios no tenían experiencia. No contábamos con la participación de ningún intérprete profesional.
- No pudimos realizar ninguna instancia previa al FSM en cabina, ya que no contábamos con equipos ni posibilidad de conseguirlos.
- Las posibilidades de conseguir audios en las distintas lenguas acerca de temáticas relacionadas al FSM fueron reducidas ya que muy pocos podían acceder a conexiones de internet con las velocidades y anchos de banda necesarios para poder hacerlo. Por lo que se tendió a bajar textos de la página web del FSM, muchos de los cuales eran leídos o grabados por uno de los voluntarios para que otro pudiera interpretarlos.
- En Uruguay no hay ninguna escuela o facultad en que pueda uno formarse como intérprete. Por esta razón, la posibilidad de estar en POA fue tan importante para nosotros como instancia de formación, algo más "formal" que nuestras prácticas, que a pesar de hacerse con mucho empeño y tratando de alcanzar la mayor calidad posible, carecían de guía profesional. Muchos pudimos beneficiarnos de los consejos, explicaciones, estrategias, etc. de intérpretes profesionales que se mostraron muy interesados en compartir sus conocimientos con nosotros. Por lo que ahora estamos en mejores condiciones para continuar practicando y formándonos para futuras instancias. Es importante destacar que casi la mayoría de las personas que estuvieron en POA han continuado participando de las actividades propuestas, y han mostrado más compromiso con Babels y con los distintos proyectos que se han planteado en Uruguay.
- Si bien éramos concientes de nuestras escasas posibilidades desde el principio, y a pesar de no lograr conformar un gran grupo de trabajo antes de POA, quienes se hicieron cargo de nuestra participación, pusieron mucho cuidado al respecto del manejo de las lenguas. La mayoría de los voluntarios eran profesores, traductores públicos o estudiantes avanzados de esta carrera, o estudiantes avanzados de las lenguas a partir de las cuales iban a interpretar, algunos incluso habían vivido en países en que se hablaba su L2 o habían recibido formación académica en esa lengua.

INGLÉS Mercedes Camps (Coord. En-Uruguay)

“El proceso de selección en inglés consistió en realizar evaluaciones, es decir pruebas o simulacros de interpretación en base a audios del sitio web de Babels, que luego eran cotejados, por un lado con el texto en el idioma original para verificar errores de contenido en la interpretación y luego se verificaba solamente el dominio del español, si se hacía un uso correcto del idioma. Si el discurso tenia sentido por si solo.

De las personas anotadas en inglés que eran cerca de 80, solamente vinieron 10 a realizar la evaluación, de las cuales quedaron 8 seleccionadas. Las personas evaluadas en su mayoría tenían practica de las reuniones de Babels, habían realizado algunos ejercicios de interpretación previos, aunque no se trató de intérpretes profesionales en la mayoría de los casos.

Se les colocó el audio en inglés de unos 10 minutos para que interpretaran al español. En primer lugar yo me encargué de verificar que la interpretación fuera correcta, estuviera completa, etc. y luego le pedí a otra persona (que tiene español como lengua materna) que escuchara solamente la interpretación, es decir el discurso en español, para que sin saber que se trataba de una interpretación pudiera verificar la corrección del español.

Las interpretaciones se grabaron en la computadora, y fueron revisadas más tarde para poder realizar la tarea con tiempo y poder revisar posibles errores varias veces.

Las personas seleccionadas mostraron buen dominio de ambas lenguas y solvencia para enfrentarse a la situación de interpretar. En el caso de quienes no fueron seleccionados, la decisión se basó en una interpretación pobre e incompleta, que no reflejaba lo que se trasmitía en el discurso con total claridad. El proceso resultó bueno ya que a pesar de los pocos medios con los que contamos, pudimos resolver la clasificación exitosamente.”

PORTUGUÉS (Ivonne Dos Santos - Coordinación PT-Uruguay”)

“Proceso de Selección Intérpretes de Portugués-Uruguay: Se trabajó a lo largo de varios meses con prácticas de interpretación sobre grabaciones hechas por nosotras, ya que nunca contamos con material adecuado. Considerando que fuimos 4 intérpretes de pt, en realidad no me sentí capaz de dejar a nadie fuera, a pesar de que en algunos momentos dudé de la capacidad de alguna de nosotras, siendo que me responsabilicé por coordinar el grupo de 23 interpretes de PT registrad*s en nuestra lista dos meses antes del FSM/2005, logrando la mejor convocatoria de 3 personas + quien escribe, no puedo evaluar este azaroso proceso de selección, dónde no contamos en ningún momento con equipos adecuados y lo hicimos sobre entrevistas radiales cuyas velocidades distan bastante de una conferencia.

FRANCÉS (Lucía Schenone)

“Según lo convenido el sábado 11 de diciembre , el equipo de francés se reunió desde las 15 h a las 18 h . Hubo 7 voluntarias presentes , a saber : Floriane, Sidonie, Olga, Mónica, Dalia, Paula y Lucía. En vistas de que el DVD que nos iba a proporcionar una referencia, no se pudo abrir, decidimos trabajar conjuntamente con casettes de audio y textos leídos. Después de estos tests orales, cada participante manifestó sentirse capaz de afrontar la experiencia.”


Solamente dos personas conformaron el grupo de alemán. Se realizaron prácticas en las siguientes condiciones: una de las voluntarias leía un texto cuya temática estuviera comprendida en alguna de las 11 áreas del FSM, al mismo tiempo la otra voluntaria realizaba su interpretación del texto leído. De esta manera no sólo se practicaba interpretación sino que además se entraba en contacto con los términos que pudieran aparecer en dichas áreas temáticas. Tras haber realizado este tipo de prácticas durante algunos meses, se realizaron una evaluación en base a la grabación de una conferencia de una temática relacionada a las del FSM, en que el orador era hablante nativo de alemán. Tras haber realizado esta prueba, ambas voluntarias entendieron que se encontraban en condiciones de participar como intérpretes en POA.


Se realizaron prácticas periódicamente durante varios meses, utilizando material relacionado a las temáticas del foro, tanto textos como grabaciones. Al llegar el momento de confirmar su participación en POA los miembros de este equipo entendieron que estaban en condiciones de participar como intérpretes. No hubo instancias de evaluación sino de reflexión en cuanto a la capacidad de cada uno.

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