Fri May 5th, 2006 at 01:05:15 PM EST
Hello again. As I found out, there are about 500 interpreters here at this conference this year. That's supposedly more than any other organization has around the world, even more than in the UN. Apparently they are very interested in getting people from Eastern Europe, and current Babels coordinators are trying to recruit them to join and become coordinators for Eastern Europe. I'm tempted. But the level of disorganization is so high I'm not sure I want to risk getting beaten to a pulp by angry interpreters from all over the world. It's quite comical sometimes, actually. My Polish friend was interpreting in a gigantic hall yesterday that was supposed to have about seven languages. When the conference started, they found out there had covered only two. So she was left with no choice but to recruit people from the audience to help out. Imagine simultaneously interpreting for 300 people staring impatiently your way if you've never even seen an interpreting console, and have never attempted anything like that in your life. Lotsa fun and excitement, I tell you.
I do recognize this forum is run entirely because of the goodwill of others. Yet I cannot help and think it's an analogy to the socialism I know and grew up in... this forum, as an organism, is like a dinosaur: gigantic but not very "bright". Just take the examples of us interpreters. We get food vouchers, lodging and travel expenses paid, which works out to about 1,000 Euro per person or so. There are 500 interpreters, so that's 50.000 euro. And many of them will be interpreting maybe 2 hours in total out of a seven-day stay. Can you think of anything less efficient?
I have seen some impressive artwork today. Particularly the statue of Justitia, an obese Caucasian woman sitting on the shoulders of an emaciated black man. I need to go outside and write down what it actually said, because my rendering wouldn't be as eloquent. I will post it along with my photo when I get back to London. My picture collection has expanded a bit and I hope you will enjoy some of the images. I must say lots of creativity went into this event, and there are some really fun things to see and read.
I am wondering to what extend this conference preaches to the choir. Many thanks to Talos for his clarification of what the socialist symbols I described yesterday mean for the Greeks as opposed to the Czechs. I do think, however, that the people who need to hear what's being said here the most will never make it behind the gates of this venue. And I believe the front that ESF puts up is a bit too radical to attract the common folk. The people that stream down the old runway into the E and S and F halls have the word "anarchy" written all over them. Dreadlocks, scarves, rainbow belts, holey jeans, long beards, chicken-foot pins, you name it. Surely these people already know about Bush's crimes, about the fact Coca Cola is evil, about recycling, peak oil. I am afraid that those that don't are still outside.
I better go and try to catch something while I can. Tomorrow I'm finally going to interpret, or so I hope, and justify my trip here.