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 Home > Event-related > European SF > FSE-ESF 2006

[ bg ca cs de el en es fr it mk pl pt ro ru ]

EPA - Report From Istanbul EPA, 22/25 September 2005

(Date: 3 October 2005)

Alexis, Ali, Bruno, Dora, Eugenie, Grégoire, Irma, Laurent, Maria, Marta, Nur, Panayotis, Spyros and Yaman participated to the drafting of this report.

- This is a joint ALIS and Babels report.

The report is based on numerous formal or informal meetings held with various national delegations, groups and networks, with the various EPA Workgroups and the EPA itself, as well as numerous meetings between ourselves.

The report is aiming at highlighting various new realities for the ESF, mixing decisions suggested to be further discussed with the whole networks and decisions taken by the EPA. The information below will confirm or could change previous organizing framework for this project.

The report is divided in several parts:
1- Logistic and Practical Information
2- Languages and Booth Organizing
3- Mobilization and Reach Out
4- Selection and Quality Issues.
5- The Next EPA
6- Report from Greek Babels Volunteers

If you want to react to this report, add information or comments do not hesitate to use our Forum.

1- Logistic and Practical Information.

a) Dates

The next European Social Forum will be held April 6 to April 9 2006. (Istanbul EPA decision)

b) Participants

50 000 participants are planned to participate into the ESF2006.

c) ESF Venue

A discussion still exists between two locations: the old airport which is located at the South West of the city and well served by public transportation, and the university which is located in the center of the city. We strongly recommended to the Organizing Committee to select it as soon as possible in order to allow the various groups involved in this project to be able to work concretely. We very strongly insisted on the fact that our preference is going to the airport for two set of reasons:
- The university is too small and a lot of marquees should be built. Therefore a lot of conferences will occur in non-permanent structures. From our previous experiences, marquees used as conference rooms make it very difficult as far as hearing speakers and working in decent conditions.
- The old airport, because it was an airport, is nearly clean as far as airwaves in the FM bandwidth making it much easier for ALIS equipment to be deployed.

The final decision of the Organizing Committee should be made in the coming month.

d) Accommodation

Accommodation will be organized for Babels volunteers by the Organizing Committee. If the location is at the old airport, agreements could be made with the nearby cities for help concerning this matter. Accommodation will be provided in the form of solidarity housing (home accommodation) as close as possible to the ESF venue. Some accommodation could exist in nearby city guest houses as well (if venue is the old airport).

e) Booth.

The booths will be constructed by the ALIS project. 150 booths will be installed in the ESF venue and 50 more will be held as spares in case of technical problems during the Forum. All will be closed booths. A typical booth during the ESF06 will be equipped as following:
- 2 chairs and 1 table
- 2 earphones
- 2 microphones
- 1 console including 2 independent sets for tuning
- 1 FM emitter
Relay between booths will exist independently of the FM transmission. We insisted a lot on the quality of the earphones.
The tests made by the interpreters present in Istanbul were positive although it was noticed that the sound should be louder in the earphones and a volume tuning should be included in the control box. The quality of the reception in the Istanbul conditions and with the single equipment brought in Istanbul is still to be worked on carefully as people will have to ear translations probably the whole day.

A document should be drafted by Babels to Alis before October 15 including booth specifications (materials to be used, size and so on) and booth locations in the various conference rooms.

f) Trips

Round trips to Athens where the ESF will take place will be organized by the ESF Organizing Committee for the Babels volunteers. Two solutions are still in discussion: Prepaid tickets (electronic tickets or equivalent) or reimbursement in Athens when the volunteers arrive. Due to the very large number of people due to come from Eastern and Central Europe, the Balkans and Turkey where the means available to regular people are not sufficient to pay in advance this type of trip and due to the fact that the same is true for number of people in other regions, we advocated that the prepaid solution should be further evaluated and prepared even if reimbursement is available in a case to case basis.

e) Working Conditions

It was once again stressed how important the working conditions are because volunteers or free-workers are not slaves. If everyone understands the fact that a Social Forum, for numerous reasons, is a completely exceptional moment, we should take our responsibility seriously and be very transparent concerning working conditions. It was proposed to start discussing this with everyone willing and volunteering to the ESF06 in December at a time when it was felt that we will have more concrete information from the Greek Organizing Committee. Therefore in January at the latest we could publish a document for all to read before finalizing his/her decision to volunteer to the ESF06 Project.

2- Languages and Booth Organizing

a) Eastern, Central European and Balkan Languages

The EPA agreed on the proposal made by the ESF Enlargement Workgroup to include in every room where there will be translation one booth devoted to a language from Eastern and Central Europe and the Balkans.

After numerous discussions with the Russian, Hungarian and Romanian delegations prior to the Enlargement WG meeting and proposal to the EPA, this solution was found in order to express clearly the commitment of the ESF toward this region. It was seen by all as a very progressive proposal in order to include starting now movements, groups, organizations and individuals from this region to already prepare for the ESF. This decision has very heavy consequences on the whole project of course, whether equipment or interpretation organizing.

The following process was determined with the national delegations present during the discussion. It is divided in four moments.
- Identification of at least one contact per language living in the related country-ies and linked with the mobilizing committee or existing national Social Forum and its organizations. (From now to first week of October)
- Mobilization and reach out through the communication means of the various organizations and mobilizing committee or existing national Social Forums. (from October to December) but also by organizing contacts with professional interpreter communities and school of interpreting or languages. An evaluation of the mobilization will be given to the next Enlargement WG meeting during the next EPA in order for the various delegations to negotiate quotas for the various languages.
- Selection and organization of the trips (from December to February)
- Setting the languages for each event (From December to March). We advocate a process should be going on during the program building and a meeting should be set in order to finalize this before the printing of the ESF program.

b) Turkish and Kurd languages

It was agreed during the discussion that the issue of the need and presence of Kurd languages will be dealt with by the Turkish Babels volunteers involved and the Turkish Social Forum which include Kurd organizations and Kurds in other organizations. Depending on the final real level of the Turkish booth presence in the ESF we suggested that the Kurd booth if needed will be taken within this quota to not pressure more than it is now the case, the presence of languages such as Spanish, German, Italian and French.

c) Number of booths in each room.

- Three languages will be translated into in each room: Greek, English and 1 EC European or Balkan language and probably Turkish will be anywhere from 33% to 50% of the rooms depending to the size of the Turkish speaking delegation.
- Number of speakers per day to be translated: around 600
- Level of last minute changes outside of the official Program (change of speakers, speaker cancellation, change of declared spoken languages) 25% minimum if compared to previous Forum with equivalent size (a minimum of 40 to 50 rooms with translation as originally planned representing around 50% of the total conference rooms available if the airport)
- Finalization of the official Program probably a week or less before the ESF (just in time to the last minute deadline for the printing of the program.)

After numerous try outs a suggestion was made including:
- Not linking the language of the audience and the language of the speakers meaning that the number of booths will be equivalent to the number of languages for the audience enabling therefore speakers to speak a wider number of languages than the one planned for that particular event. Of course this is possible providing that there is at least one interpreter in one of the “relay” language of this room team with this language as a passive one. We will also insist on knowing well in advance the language spoken by the speaker, ask their written speech if they exist or a minimal outline of their speech. For this reason we have participated to the crafting of the electronic form which will be used to register ESF events.
- Not diminishing the ratio between room with translation and room without translation in order to not over-stress the need for translation outside of the set rooms.
- Not over-multiply the number of channels needed in the ESF area which could lead to an overwhelming number of possible interferences and complicate preparation

The suggestion is as following: each room with translation in the ESF06 will include 5 booths corresponding to 5 languages for the audience. Translation will be provided therefore in 30 rooms corresponding to 150 booths. In addition to these and in the respect to have anywhere between 33% to 50% as a ratio between rooms with translation and rooms without translation, we also discussed the possibility that in very small rooms (50-60 people or less), 10 of these will be equipped with one booth (one channel) for two languages because depending on the language spoken people can either take the FM receiver or not. If this last solution seems feasible therefore the spare level will go down to 40 booths. We of course stressed that any decision on the number of booths has a very big impact on the number of interpreters, therefore should be planed carefully and well in advance.

d) Recording.

Recording of the translated conferences in all the languages is part of ALIS project. Furthermore the German Social Forum is trying with the help of ALIS to set a project aiming at allowing Local Social Forum in Germany to organize events during the Forum week thanks to the material (video and audio) made available through Internet. In addition to this the international ESF Memory Project should be able to finance part of ALIS project if it can provide a sound archiving and indexing solution first to the ESF2003 Memory Project raw materials still available and untouched. The system used for this will be of course available then for the ESF06.

Some in Babels stressed the importance of discussing this matter further with all the volunteers in order to seek a viable solution. Of course all materials should be anonymous and licensed with a Creative Common license (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike).

3- Mobilization and Reach Out

Mobilization is on its way in Greece but needs to be confirmed in the coming months.

A meeting is to be taking place in Romania with the Romanian Social Forum, October 15. It will involve the Greek Organizing Committee including Babels and Alis which are members of it.

For Turkey, an agreement will be worked on with the Turkish Social Forum to publish through its communication means and with the help of the member organizations communication means also, a call for volunteer drafted from the Greek one already circulating in Greece by the same means. Contacts will be made with existing interpreter organizations and with interpreting schools in order to work on further involvement.

For Russia, the same as Turkey will probably happen according to the discussion held with the Russians in the EPA. Mobilizations in Ukraine, Byelorussia, Russia and Baltic countries are coordinated together allowing the special mobilization on interpreting to receive help from organizations in this area.

For Hungary contacts are already made on the same basis. The next EPA should be the opportunity, especially for this language, to be more involved in the global building of the project.

4- Selection and Quality Issues

- The shared distribution system is developing a little more with now new Physical Distribution Point in Russia and Turkey and a second one in Greece.
- The Sitprep principles were detailed during special meetings in order to present past experiences using it.

- It was noted that for other booths than the languages mentioned here-before, and especially for the IT booth, the mobilization period is corresponding to the selection period since for IT, but probably also FR, DE and ES the number of people who already volunteered are largely over the needs.
- For the FR booth a discussion took place between people from France and people from Turkey working in this booth. It was decided that priority will be given for this booth to people from Turkey or other countries in the vicinity of Greece before Switzerland, Belgium and France. Depending on the funds made available through this mean we will seek to make participation possible for FR booth interpreters from Senegal and Mali who are starting mobilizing for the Polycentric WSF06 in Bamako (January 2006). (A special meeting with the African Social Forum representative participating to the EPA happened concerning this matter and the possibilities for a further involvement of ALIS and Babels. A Preparation Meeting for the WSF06 in Mali will take place next week in Bamako.)

Quality and the Issue of Making Certificate
The suggestion made is for Babels to not issue any certificate for the participation to the ESF06 in Athens. The Greek Organizing Committee could, if needed, make available to volunteers invitation to participate as volunteer and issue certificate as ESF volunteer. Any more precise certificate should be avoided in order to not support indirectly malpractices especially allowing interpreting “grey market” to grow thanks to a Babels certificate for interpreting during the ESF. Nevertheless interpreting schools could work on a special agreement with the Greek Organizing Committee if more is needed.

Nur proposed in particular to draft in the coming weeks with few other professional interpreters a short document to present why mix booths (with non-professional) are important to us all, but should not be the occasion to undermine the quality of messages translated and the ethic of a profession.

5- The Next EPA

The next EPA will be held in Vienna from January 5 to January 8.

The languages for the next EPA are already selected: DE, EL, EN, FR, HU, RO after a discussion between the Austrian and Greek organizations, the Hungarian ones and the Romanian ones. It will use ALIS equipment for all the languages in the main room (the EPA room, the only one with translation possibility)

The process to work on these languages is proposed as following.
1- ALIS has to assess the concrete feasibility for this.
2- Austrian organizations coordinating this EPA has to check if funds are available for 6 interpreters corresponding to EL, HU; RO booths and for ALIS volunteers to come with the equipment.
3- Austrian SF will organize a meeting soon with volunteer interpreters in Vienna to start mobilizing for the next EPA in order to start a process to allow as many volunteers as possible to come from Austria to participate to the ESF06 project.
4- A final assessment should be made in November in order to be able to publish an invitation stating clearly if there is only HU or HU and RO during the EPA for the organizations in Hungary (200 Km away) and in Romania (800 Km away) to come in number.

6- Report from Greek Babels Volunteer

Like what ever else happened in this EPA, the Babels network made a step forward.

And first of all we have a final date for the ESF. 6-7-8-9 of April. These dates are a little heavy for interpreters that work for the E.U But we don’t have yet a space even if everybody wants the old Airport and Babels first of all. But I think in a few days this will be solved.

a. On a political level diversity of languages was established a little further. Or maybe it has become more radical than ever. The Assembly agreed on the Babels proposition of announcing from now that in Athens we will have in every room a Booth dedicated to an Eastern European-Balkan language.

Taking in to account that in every room in Athens there will one booth in Greek and one in English this leaves two booths per room for French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic etc. And if what the Turkish Mobilizing group is telling us is true (and they bring along 3.000) Turkish must be in something like 50% in the remaining booths. This reduces the lasting booths to 2,5 per room for western European languages. In figures this means 120 Greek interpreters, 60 Turks and 120 for the Eastern-Balkan region

b. Taking this to an organizing level. Eastern European delegations will be enthusiastic about this and of course it will help them to mobilize better.

On the 15th of October there will be a meeting in Romania with people from the Romanian Social Forum Attached to this meeting there will be a meeting to establish Babels-Romania. The ESF expansion group and specially the Greek one will try to organize these kinds of meetings in Macedonia, Bulgaria and possible Serbia/Montenegro. We are in contact with the Russian mobilizing group also.

For organizing better the Babels expansion we must appoint coordinators for the new languages in order to work more specifically on the matter. Of course most of the persons (if not all) will be Greek because they have to travel in the region.

On the general propaganda issue Babels-El will distribute a poster, leaflet and logo in all different languages so we can have a pan-European campaign about Babels and the call for volunteers.

c. The next EPA will take place from 5th to the 8th of January in Vienna. We proposed one of the languages to be Hungarian. This can help our friends in Hungary to find and mobilize Babels. Vienna is close enough to organize a meeting with babels from the eastern region, provided we pay their tickets to come to Vienna. Also the Vienna ESF will test in all booths the ALIS system.

d. I must put down an interesting problem coming up. Macedonian language does not officially exist in Greece! The political impact of having booths in Macedonian will be enormous.

e. We have a Babels network in Turkey now. And the Turkish Social Forum (that took part in our meeting) confirmed that it will help the network to expand. As they are trying to move to other towns except Istanbul they will issue a call for volunteers for Babels and encourage the groups participating to the TSF to ask their members to get involved. In the babels meeting in the end of the EPA, our Turkish friends underlined the problem of giving certificates to non-professionals interpreters for working in the ESF event. It was clarified that the only certificates handed it out will be the ones needed for the absence of university students from their classes.

f. The Greek and European Organizing Committee again was very friendly to Babels (not so strange taking in to account that I presented the European practicalities working group report). I must remind you that since the summer the Athens ESF has hired a person for Babels purpose.

Panayotis Yulis

If you want to react to this report, add information or comments do not hesitate to use our Forum.

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