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 Home > Participate with Babels! > English

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About us / Contacts

(Date: 15 June 2004)

What is Babels?

Babels is a network of volunteer interpreters and translators. It was born from the process of the Social Forums, experimental meeting spaces for movements and organisations from different countries and regions. Without interlinguistic and intercultural communication these spaces could not exist.

Babels is made up of activists of all tendencies and backgrounds, united in the task of transforming and opening up the Social Forums. We work to give voice to peoples of different languages and cultures. We fight for the right of all, including those who don’t speak a colonial language, to contribute to the common work. We try to allow everyone to express themselves in the language of their choice. By increasing the diversity of contributions to the debate, we transform its outcome.

How does Babels work?

Babels is a horizontal, non-hierarchical network, with no permanent structures of any kind, in which we are all volunteers and we each work on the tasks to which we freely commit. Some of us interpret in a booth. Others volunteer our time to help organise the various projects which the network initiates or to which it contributes. Some of us create glossaries to internationalise, expand and shape the language of the causes which interest us. We all contribute to the political debate and to the experimentation in linguistic activism and horizontal organisation.

Babels is not a provider of linguistic services, it is a political actor. We do not work on any project in whose process we have not been involved from the beginning, contributing to the definition of the project itself with our ideas and demands.

Where does Babels come from?

The first European Social Forum was held in Florence, in November 2002. Just three months before this event, a self-organised process was started to find volunteer interpreters and translators for the forum. A considerable (though still insufficient) number of activist volunteer interpreters came together in these three months. This is how Babels was born.

Since then, Babels has been part of the European forums of Paris and London; of the 2004 WSF in Mumbai, the 2005 WSF in Porto Alegre; of the FSA 2004 in Quito; and a series of smaller meetings such as thematic forums and assemblies (against the G8, against the war, forum of the fishing peoples...)



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