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Section 8

The Spirit of DidactiBels: sharing collective work

8.1 More Social Forum speeches

You have run out of Social Forum speeches and you want to prepare for the next Social Forum? Babels, a network of volunteer translators and interpreters for the Social forums, and Ecos, have created 'sit-prep' DVDs.

Please share your wisdom with people who might need to learn what you are studying now; help us make their learning process shorter and easier. This is the aim of DidactiBels, which has been created in a spirit of collective acquisition of knowledge and skills, following the Open Learning Model, free software and free knowledge.

8.2 Let's join forces

8.2.1 Share those speeches!

Please remember to keep and share any interesting Social Forum speeches and links you find in your language so your work is not lost. You can share them among you and with the other groups in other countries, where there might be people with the same languages. Otherwise, you are repeating work unnecessarily. See 'Message from the Lexicons coordinators at the Malmö ESF', below, to learn how you can share your materials.

You are more than welcome to volunteer as a speech or lexicon coordinator for your language. Send an e-mail to Babels-tech ( asking them to create a distribution list for your mother tongue to share lexicons and speeches. Anyone can volunteer, and this work is a very important part of your training. A distribution list for your language will help you share speeches and lexicons, and prepare more effectively with other people who understand your language(s). Ideally, you should belong to 2 distribution lists (or 3 if you speak 3 languages).

Let us take an example. You can send an email to one of these lists with a link like this:

Here is my contribution (audio files) to the English sharing list for today:

Try to find similar websites in your language(s). Then send the information to the distribution lists for those languages.

Here are other examples of emails you can send:

Subject: EN-SPEECH Ecology

('EN' is the code for the language; 'SPEECH' is the type of material, as opposed to 'VIDEO', for example; 'Ecology' is the topic of the speech.)

E-mail text: "Title of speech", Name of Speaker/organisation, duration of the speech, level of difficulty (speech attached)

Subject: FR-VIDEO Organic Farming

E-mail text: "Title of speech" Name of Speaker/organisation, language(s), duration, difficulty and link to video.

Ideally, you should work with real videos of Social Forums. The next best option, if you cannot find videos, are real Social Forum audio files, then real Social Forum written speeches that someone else can record for you.

8.2.2 Share those lexicons

By now you should have already created at least 3 lexicons on the topics where interpreting is most likely to be needed for your language(s). Remember to check the forum programme every so often because it will keep changing!

Lists to share lexicons and speeches have already been created for a few languages. We need more lists for different languages! Please volunteer to create one in your specific language(s), otherwise join the existing ones.

Here is an example on how you could send your lexicons to the sharing list for your language:
Subject: ES-LEXICON Feminism

E-mail text: "Title of speech", Name of Speaker/organisation, language(s) (lexicon attached)
The lexicon will then be revised by professional translators on your sharing list and then put on the Babels lexicons website by the lexicons coordinator.


We are now going to focus on trying to recall the main vocabulary of the topics you have prepared. This is essential to make your performance minimally acceptable in the context of a social forum. As practice makes perfect, you must go over your lexicons several times. Here is a practical method you can use to improve your knowledge of specialised forum vocabulary:

  1. Make sure you have followed the instructions to create 3 essential lexicons in your language combination. A lexicon is just a text document with at least two columns, one for a word or expression in each language. Go to the Babels lexicons website for examples.
  2. Take your 3 lexicons and read them slowly, once. You can do this on the train/bus/whenever you have free time.
  3. When you have free time, for example on the bus, or while you are waiting for the metro, take out a lexicon, fold it so that you just see the words in your B language, and try to think of a translation in your mother tongue(s). Do this every day in the weeks preceding the social forum.
  4. Note down any words you have trouble remembering in a separate lexicon just for yourself.
  5. When you self-assess your recordings, write down any specialised words you stumble on, and add them to your personal lexicon. Your personal lexicon is only for you, it is only for the words that you have trouble with, you do not have to share it.
  6. Take your personal lexicon on the bus/train and repeat the process.
  7. While you are cooking, or in the shower, try to remember the words in your personal lexicon without looking at it.
  8. When you have mastered your first 3 lexicons, create a 4th one, or translate an existing one, depending on your language combination. Do not forget to send all your lexicons (except the personal one) to your lexicons coordinator for revision and sharing.

Resources and documents

Video Susana G 26enero2003 (before Johnson)

Video Johnson
Video 12 Johnson EN
Message from the lexicon coordinators at the Malmö ESF
Copyright 2008, de los Autores de los Cursos. Cite/attribute Resource. Section 8. (2009, March 10). Retrieved February 17, 2020, from OCW-USAL Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License