How Translators Manage and Resolve Conflict

Conflict is a natural part of the life of a group, an organization, or a team. Conflicts arise for various reasons: competition for funds or resources; disagreement about the allocation of duties and responsibilities; power ambitions or a clash of values, attitudes, style of work and personalities, and even sometimes – from simple misunderstandings.

Undoubtedly the term conflict has a negative connotation. However, in the opinion of some notarized translation professionals, in particular, conflict can be not only destructive, but also constructive. If managed in a proper way, it can bring up important issues, increase the personal commitment to strong results, and generate fresh ideas for solving various problems. As the workers from an Arabic translation say, to be a highly efficient member of a team does not necessarily mean that you will be enjoying every minute of your work and that you will be OK with everything or everybody; just the opposite – even teams that experience some interpersonal conflict can excel if effectively managed.

In this light, the above legal translation workers add, that you can minimize losses for all the parties involved in the conflict if you approach it with the idea that both sides can win, i.e. that they can reach what they want to some satisfactory extent (a win-win strategy). Such a strategy can work, if everybody believes that:
(1)    a solution acceptable for both sides can be found;
(2)    the organization will benefit more from cooperation than from competition, so consensus is more desirable;
(3)    the other party is an opponent than can be trusted;
(4)    parties can be treated on equal basis in terms of power or influence to impose their view.
Team members can resolve conflict through communication, openness, research flexibility, alliance and last, but not least – fair play.

By Margarita Mihaylova

Group Dynamics – 2. Phases of Group Development

On their way to becoming a cohesive team and reaching their objectives groups generally go through a number of stages such as orientation, conflict, brainstorming, emergence and reinforcement.

The first stage in becoming a cohesive team is the orientation (formation) stage. During this stage team members socialize, get to know each other, establish their roles and responsibilities and develop a sense of common purpose. Unfortunately, as the workers from a Portuguese translation service comment, teams cannot start working smoothly from the very beginning, so after this fairly short stage, they begin to discuss their positions, their roles and the function of leadership. This is known as the conflict (storming) stage. As team members share their ideas, disagreement and tension natural arise among members. In fact during this stage conflict has not been identified yet, it is rather a stage so it can be characterized as a phase of chaos and disorganization. The Chinese translators mentioned above underline that it is important to encourage open communication during this stage so that team members can speak up and fully discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the various options to resolve conflict issues during the next, the brainstorming (norming) stage. It is at the end of this stage when team members establish their roles, take responsibility and formulate standards. Yan Linski, a German to English transation professional, adds that although group brainstorming is a highly popular activity, in some cases it may be more productive to have people brainstorm individually and then to discuss them at a group meeting.

Some teams never reach the emergence (performing) phase because they have not resolved their internal problems. However, if they do, they find a solution supported by all members (even if not all of them fully agree that it is the best one).

During the reinforcement stage, members receive their assignments and they take steps to perform them.

By Margarita Mihaylova

Group Dynamics – 1. Team Roles

Productive teams tend to establish guidelines for interaction that though often officially unstated become group norms – informal standards of behavior that members follow and that direct their actions. For example, in some teams it is perfectly acceptable to show up 10 or 15 minutes late for meetings, while other teams expect strict adherence to schedules. In this light, when referring to the interactions and processes that take place among the members of a team, organizational behavior experts often use the term ‘group dynamics’.

In the opinion of some professionals from a Certified transcript Translation  Service Agency, group dynamics are swayed by a number of factors: including the functions that the participants in the team serve, the current developmental stage of the group, its conflict resolving ability and its ability to overcome resistance to change.

Each member of a team usually plays a certain role that affects the outcome of the group activities. This role can generally be classified as either functional or dysfunctional.  Legal translation workers further clarify, that apart from this general division, the role a team member assumes can be further categorized as self-oriented, team-maintenance or task-facilitating.

Team members who take on self-serving functions usually put their own needs ahead of the needs of the team they belong to. Though usually highly skilled and experienced people, they often don’t perform as well as one might expect and in practice they often turn out to be less valuable than others in the group. Moreover, as a French translator adds, other team members may avoid interacting with them simply because they often are people with difficult personalities.

While members who take on self-oriented functions are generally considered dysfunctional, team-maintenance and task-facilitating roles are generally considered functional. Members who take on maintenance functions, for example, have a higher likelihood of making meaningful contributions and are mre likely to help reach agreement and cooperation. Those who take on task-oriented roles, are more likely to work towards and eventually to help the team reach its goals.

By Sarah Hudson

How Translation Workers Overcome Resistance to Change

One particular challenge that can impede team progress is resistance to change. People can object to change for a vast range of reasons – from clearly irrational to very logical ones. We must admit that there is nothing odd in such a reaction – all of us naturally fear that it won’t work, that we will not perform well enough, and the worst fear of all – that it will actually work and we might lose our job. And after all, why should we give up the way that works and that we are comfortable with to replace it with a way that might work? So, as the workers from a Milwaukee Chinese Translation Service summarize it: people usually resist change for good reasons and managers must be aware of this and prepared how to deal with it.

The most important thing when you encounter resistance and hostility about a change implemented in the organization you are managing is to scrutinize the extent of the employee’s uneasiness about the introduced change and to provide them with the most appropriate information in the most persuasive, calm and reasonable way. Some advice the Chicago Certified Translation professionals give includes:

  • Express understanding and encourage the other person share their fears and uncertainty so that you have a chance to reassure them. Here the translation service workers recommend to bring the issue out in the open and to deal directly with it without accusing the employee about his reaction.
  • Try to understand the basis for the resistance and evaluate the employee’s objections fairly. Just listen without debating the forthcoming change, listen actively and with empathy – it may turn out that the employee just needs to voice them, to be eased and reassured. Moreover, this will give you the chance to identify any potential misunderstanding or wrong perceptions so that you can later deal with them.
  • Give the employee enough time to go through the transition, hold your arguments until they are ready for them. It is best to leave this for another meeting.

By Sarah Hudson

Collaborative Communication

The purpose of team collaboration on various communicationprojectsreports, websites, presentations, and other is to achieve through the collective energy and expertise of the various team members results better than the outcomes each individual could achieve otherwise.

Although it seems and easy task, we should say that collaborating on team messagesis not that simple. It has its own specifics and requires special effort. First, the work habits or priorities of the members of the team may and normally differ: an engineer, for example, would rather focus on accuracy of information and compliance with technical standards; aPR professional would rather pay attention on organizationand coherence; a manager would focus on deadlines, cost, and common organizational goals. Then, the team members also differ in writing styles, background and personality traits, which can also complicate the communication process. In this light, effective communication requires flexibility, honesty and openness to other opinions giving priority to team objectives rather than to pursuing private business goals or imposing “their way” to do things.

In this light, the professionals from a college transcript translation agency give hereafter the following guidelines for collaborative writing: to select carefully collaborators whose experience, background and talent best match the project needs; to agree on and clearly formulate project goals before the start of the project; to define clear individual responsibilities, including their scope and deadlines and other. The translation workers also advise us to avoid writing as a group. In their opinion, the best approach in most cases is to research, discuss and outline the writing as a group, but to assign the development of the text to one person. Of course, you would need to divide larger projects among more writers, but even in this case, Philadelphia Japanese Translation Agency professionals recommend the final revision to be done by one person to ensure consistency of writing.

Being Effective Team Members

People join organizations, work in teams, in short – collaborate to achieve together what they cannot or will take too much effort to reach alone. To be effective collaborators in a team setting, team members must recognize that as individuals they must share their unique and valuable assets in the form of acquired knowledge, skills and expertise with the team. The workers from a Chinese Translation  define strong collaborators as individuals who are open to sharing important data and insights, are strong in evaluating problems and opportunities, and skilled in resolving problems and challenges that develop. Collaborators have faith in others and will listen to contrasting opinions in order to develop betters methods and achieve superior results for the team or firm as opposed to acting for their own personal gain and self-interests.

Jim Smyth, a Spanish certified translation professional from Dallas, generalizes that the most efficient and productive teams are created with a specific objective and a mutual feeling of mission, communicate honestly and discuss purposely so that they can come to an agreement, are composed of creatively thinkers who discover fresh approaches for solving problems, are comfortable with disagreement and have the capacity to resolve disputes. Because mastering these team skills requires significant training, today’s organizations invest in programs that concern team skills more frequently and extensively than any other aspect of business.

In contrast, ineffective teamwork can waste time and money, produce low-quality work, and breed frustration in both managers and employees. The professionals from the above diploma translation agency cite a lack of trust and guarded communication as the most common reason for team failure. Ineffective teams lack a strong internal relationship and credibility; their members are suspicious of one another’s motives or ability to contribute. Another frequently cited cause of team inefficiency and inability pertains to weak communication, particularly when members are of different cultures, countries or time zones. Poor communication can also result from conversational style differences. Some people expect discussions to follow an orderly pattern while others are comfortable with a more overlapping, interactive style.

By Sarah Hudson

Advantages and Disadvantages of Teams

Contemporary research workers in the field of organizational behavior believe that successful teams can largely improve productivity, increase employee involvement, foster creativity, and even provide for better job security. And yet, although teams can play a vital role in helping an organization reach its goals, the professionals from a Chinese translation agency in California remind us, that they are not the “ultimate” solution, for they might not be appropriate for a given situation. Moreover, even when they are appropriate, the particular organization needs to weigh both the pros and cons for using a team-based approach. It is true that a successful team can provide a number of advantages: pooling the experience of several individuals often results in increased information and knowledge and thus better decisions made. In addition, team members can bring a variety of perspectives to the decision-making process. However, as the Spanish translation workers also remind us, the multiple perspectives can hamper the joint efforts unless they are guided by and centered on a shared goal.

Another advantage of team work is that it often improves the likelihood that employees will embrace a solution because they developed it. In addition, since the members of the team have a greater likelihood of embracing the solution that they developed, they will likely try harder to encourage other workers to accept it.

Working in teams can foster creativity and unleash new levels of energy in employees who share a sense of purpose and mutual accountability. According to Milwaukee German Translation Service professionals, effective teams can perform better than individuals at solving complex problems. Finally, since individuals are social beings who need to belong to a group, teams fill this individual worker’s need. Working in a team also reduces boredom at the workplace, increases the feelings of self-worth and dignity, as well as lowers stress, anxiety and tension between workers.

By Margarita Mihaylova

Effective Cross Functional Teams With Language Translators

As a professional certified translator, you might be tasked with an assignment where you will be working collectively with other professionals to solve a common problem or reach a common goal in a team. The following article discusses some characteristics of teams.

Communications within a cross functional work team symbolize a key aspect of professional communication. A cross functional team consists of individuals who come together with an aim of reaching a common goal.  For instance, it might include purchasing, accounting, marketing and even language translation professionals.  As one Houston Chinese translator explains, cross functional teams are formed in order to identify an effective solution and once a solution is determined and implemented with successful results, the team breaks up. Often the members of these problem solving teams come from a number of business areas, specialties and areas of expertise. The positive aspect of this sort of team is that it brings about a range of viewpoints from people of diverse corporate backgrounds and knowledge. However, the downside can sometimes be that conflicting interests can generate conflicts that require strong skills in professional communication to manage.

Committees are structured teams that tend to exist for an extended period of time and might even become a fixture of the organization. Committees generally have regularly scheduled events such as the meeting of the executive committee and perhaps even elections. Regardless of a team’s objective and responsibility, all members need to have the ability to converse professionally with fellow team members and outsiders. According to several experienced Japanese translation workers in Seattle, this need generally requires more advanced communication skills that include disseminating details and facts with members, being attentive to other members, and composing communications that convey the joint ideas and opinions of the team.

Working Collaboratively To Translate And Author Documents

In global business world, a business succeeds, deteriorates, or goes broke based on its strength in capitalizing on opportunities, responding to weaknesses, developing successful strategies, and communicating accurately with stakeholders.

The challenges of the modern marketplace demand diverse workers from wide ranging cultural backgrounds and fields of knowledge to bring new perspective and awareness to corporate strategy.  As a member of a cross-functional, cross-cultural, multi-ethnic and multilingual team you are required to pull your resources together with other members of your team and take on large projects that not only demand strong collaboration skills in writing and translating reports and developing oral presentations.  That’s why Susan Miller of The Marketing Analysts, a company specializing in providing Chinese translation in Chicago states “In the global business world, skilled translation and strong collaboration have become staples of successful companies.  Therefore, business executives must be able to capitalize on the shared knowledge of their colleagues.”

One way Houston translation services capitalize on collaboration is through collaborative translating and writing which can take on a number of forms.  One of the more common forms is known as interactive writing and translation that typically involves one author asking a peer or peers to review his work at various stages in the writing process.   Cooperative writing is another common form of collaboration and involves splitting the writing or translation task equally among the team members.  Once all of the sections are complete, the team meets again to clean up the document and produce the final version.    The form of collaborative writing that involves two or more people sitting down at a computer to work collectively is generally called as coauthoring.  For the most part, this form is usually reserved for small, critical or sensitive documents because it requires more time than a person would need if he was writing alone.

Most recently, French translation workers in Miami are making use of collaborative technology to gain efficiencies that use web based applications or applications that are located on a cloud to produce documents that can be revised and reviewed by an entire team or anyone with permission to access the document.  The major advantage of collaborative writing technologies is that it eliminates the need to keep track of various revisions of a document that have been sent to a number of people to review.