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