Mews is used by hoteliers all around the world, which means we need to translate content into multiple languages. Well, we say translate; really, we mean localize. 

Translation converts text from one language (the source) into another language (the target) while preserving the original meaning. Localization goes a step further by adjusting the translation to suit the target audience and culture, which can sometimes be as simple as adjusting currency units. 

Rather than outsource this important work, Mews keeps things in house with our own Localization team.

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Meet the Mews Localization team 

Say a virtual hello to the Mews Localization team. Consisting of Wendy, Janka, Max and our Translation Manager, Naomi, we’re a close-knit (though remote-based) group of language specialists nestled within the Mews Product Content tribe.  

We dedicate our time to translating and localizing content from English into our four core languages: Dutch, French, German, and Spanish. The type of content we work with varies widely and you might find us helping to shape user guides, release notes, or blog posts – you name it!  

We all live in different countries across Europe. That means making pretty words in different languages isn’t the only skill we need to be good at; communication is a big part of our everyday working life. We’re very familiar with Teams meetings and making the most of emoticons on Slack.  

But chatting with the team through our laptop screens can only get us so close, and Mews acknowledges that – once every year we’re encouraged to travel back to the Mews office in Prague for a week in order to make connections and work together face to face. We’re not all expected to do it at the same time, but in November 2023 we left our manager to enjoy her holiday and took the opportunity to enjoy our Homecoming (as Matt, our CEO, named it) as a team.   

This had several advantages – not just strengthening our teamwork, but also enhancing our team's visibility and presence at Mews. 


Max: The positive impact of in-person teambuilding 

While being 100% remote has its perks, nothing beats face-to-face interaction. Our Homecoming week was designed to do just that. Filled with productive collaboration and exploration of an historic city, it brought our localization team together for a remarkable experience.  

We kicked things off with dedicated teamwork sessions. These weren't typical stuffy meetings – more like productive brainstorming exchanges about our best working practices for translating help articles and release notes. For example, we shared tips on how to approach translation and documentation processes, such as our approach to embedded links in help articles. That way, we all had the chance to improve the way we worked on the (admittedly numerous) tools we have at Mews. 

Getting to know each other’s working habits and spending time together in the Prague office had such a positive impact on our team spirit. It gave all of us the possibility of seeing things from a different perspective. It also helped us to not only improve our individual work methods, but also streamline the way we work as a team. In the end, we were very happy because we knew that we were all leaving Homecoming with a toolbox full of fresh hacks to make our jobs even easier. 

We spent plenty of time collaborating in the Prague office, but, on Wendy’s recommendation, we also went on a sightseeing trip to Vyšehrad, a historic fort in Prague. So, we traded translating text and chasing deadlines for panoramic city views and spontaneous photo shoots that captured the joy of being together

The visit to Vyšehrad was not just about sightseeing though; it was about building connections that go beyond the virtual realm. Sharing personal stories, learning about each other's passions and simply enjoying each other's company – that's what made Homecoming a special social work experience. 

It was good to work together in person and to share experiences like visiting Vyšehrad. This strengthened our social connection and was way more fun than doing it virtually! This is one reason we definitely recommend Homecoming for any remote teams: as an initiative to get to know each other better. 


Janka: The importance of cross-functional meetings  

While the Homecoming initiative at Mews helps strengthen bonds with direct colleagues, it’s also fantastic for connecting with other teams. For our localization team, often working behind the scenes of content creation, this was a perfect chance to get to know our counterparts, showcase our work, and foster cross-team collaboration. 

It's wise to plan these interactions ahead and ask yourself the important questions: which teams should you meet? What do you want to achieve? Direct conversations can lead to more straightforward and open communication, so seize any opportunity that comes your way! We knew that we wanted to meet with the Customer Success team and the Mews Community coordinator, so we started setting up meetings weeks before our planned visit to Prague. 

We started by meeting with the Mews Community coordinator, who oversees our online forum where hoteliers can trade tips and tricks for the Mews ecosystem or help each other solve specific problems. Our aim was to better grasp the platform and see if we could use it to consult our users regarding specific terminology in translation. Given our focus on hospitality, connecting with industry professionals directly can be crucial to make sure we are speaking their language. 

We then met with the Customer Success team, shedding light on tricky translations like "deposit", "customer" and "guest". This meeting highlighted potential ways to unify our vocabulary across teams – don’t forget that in a fast-growing company, effective communication can be a major challenge! Another important discovery was the Customer Support team's interest in content proofreading (such as specific emails to customers) – a need they may not have expressed if we hadn’t met in person. 

Homecoming can also tackle pragmatic issues, such as technical challenges. For our remote team, ensuring that our daily software tools work perfectly is key. We needed to resolve several issues with our common software (Salesforce, to be exact) and found that discussing our needs in person with an Internal Solutions Support Agent was far more effective than back-and-forth messaging online. 

Whether it's solving specific issues, or boosting cross-team collaboration, face-to-face meetings have a unique impact. And while online tools are increasingly efficient, they can't replicate the value of human interaction. So, if you get the chance for such an experience, embrace it and meet as many people as possible! 


Wendy: It’s all about networking 

We’ve already talked about teambuilding and cross-functional meetings. Networking was an equally important part of our Homecoming. Being in the Prague office gave us visibility beyond the teams we work with directly. 

While I used to live in Prague, where the office makes it easy to meet new people who are relevant in some way to our work, only one person in the translation team currently lives close enough to a Mews office to visit regularly. That meant it was especially important for us to make the most of our networking opportunities while we were in Prague. 

Networking can be really simple; we didn’t need an official event with canapes and tiny standing tables to get to know people outside of our usual scope. Instead, we hung out in the kitchen and went to see the people we had meetings with in the area of the building where they worked. According to some coworkers, the third floor where we work as part of the RnD team has too much of a focused vibe, which makes it intimidating. We think it’s pretty cozy up there, but taking the initiative to say hi in a space where everyone is comfortable is a great way to warm them up to you. 

Of course, we also had the advantage of our pre-established network, which meant we could set up meetings with the right people and we could introduce each other to some of our favorite Mewsers. It’s much easier to introduce yourself to new people (and puppies?!) when you have a mutual connection. 

If we hadn’t walked those office corridors, we would not have met people like Daphne and Alexey, members of the Mews Growth Program, who might turn out to be important stakeholders later, when they find out what role suits them best. Janka wouldn’t have bumped into Marina, one of our connectivity experts. We wouldn’t have had a photoshoot with one of our beloved Mews pets, Tales. 

But does it really even matter who we know personally at work? We’re translators, so surely, we don’t need to talk to anyone in the Support team, or the UX Research team? Well, we’re not exactly the biggest team, so it’s important to get ourselves known within the company. It helps us avoid the ever-present problem we have as translators: our work is often an afterthought for others.  

If we know each of our colleagues on a personal level instead of purely via Slack, they’re more likely to come to talk with us directly at the beginning of a project. That’s helpful for us, as we get context and viable deadlines and helpful for them, because we can give them better translations.  

Meeting more people from other departments, related or not, also helps us continue to build a better product. If they see something they think could be improved, then aha, didn’t they just meet someone who translates? Didn’t that team have a Slack channel they could use to reach out? 

And let’s not forget that now we will hear about things we can fix much earlier, meaning issues don’t pile up until they become so noticeable that our customers let us know about it. 


The power of face-to-face communication 

All in all, our trip gave us a lot in just a few days. Team building lets us understand each other’s work processes, share tips and get to know each other as real, live people. Cross-functional meetings helped us solve important and complicated issues which a simple Slack message couldn’t deal with as effectively. And networking helped us become more known and heard as a team, so we can contribute to a better product. 

As we have seen, Homecoming is a good reminder to our colleagues that Mews has its own dedicated localization team (that’s us!). Our visit also had a positive impact on the work we do at Mews. But we shouldn’t forget the last essential reason for us to go all the way to Prague just to say hi when we could have had Teams calls. 

When you spend all day behind a screen and the social highlight of your week is getting help with the self-checkout while grocery shopping – alright, we might be exaggerating here – you can really feel isolated. Sometimes it can feel like the people you work with are just your imaginary friends and the work you do doesn’t matter to anyone. So, the simple act of meeting new people can bring you back to reality. In the best way.