Proford is a professional association, not an authority, so we have no wish to act as an adjudicator in professional disputes. Nevertheless, it is important for our members to have a forum where disputes can be settled, so we recommend mediation to those contacting us about such matters, whether it be a conflict between language service providers, a dispute between a freelance translator and a translation company, or a difference of opinion between a language service provider and the end customer
We draw attention to the fact that solutions may differ from case to case. Accordingly, the agreement that may be developed during the mediation process is the achievement of the two parties, so the decision reached, does not reflect the official position of Proford. If, however, the parties believe that publication of the solution will benefit the industry as a whole, we are happy to give the solution some visibility.
Most people are wary of conflict, whether in their private lives or in business, though we all know that differences of opinion are inevitable. Few, however, consider that the conflict could be resolved with a positive outcome, both for the parties concerned and the industry. In order for what is known in game theory as a win-win situation to be achieved, it is important for the rules on how the process will be conducted to be established well in advance, and for there to be an independent person leading the process who will consistently guide the parties towards compromise. The term for that is mediation, and the person leading the process is the mediator.
One feature of this method, which is widely used in English-speaking and Western European countries, is that the mediator is not allowed to give advice or even suggest a solution; the role of the mediator is solely to guide the parties to a joint solution by getting at their real intentions. Whether a solution is reached depends on the readiness of the two parties to compromise. The aim of the mediator is not for an agreement to be reached at all costs, but for a solution to be found that incorporates the interests of both parties.