Inside Localization at Hamilton, Maker of Coronavirus Testing Workstations

How Hamilton Bonaduz Runs Language Translation and Localization

A curtainwalled structure stands out in the Swiss countryside surrounded by grassland and the mountains beyond. It is the headquarters of medtech company Hamilton Bonaduz AG, which specializes in automation and robotics, laboratory, and process functions in the life sciences field.

Founded on the invention of the microliter syringe by American chemical engineer Clark Hamilton in the 1940s, the group is still wholly owned by the Hamilton family and employs some 3,000 people worldwide; 1,200 of them in Switzerland, divided between two sprawling facilities in Bonaduz and Domat/Ems.

Hamilton Bonaduz is part of the Hamilton Group, along with ventilator manufacturer Hamilton Medical, which has figured in the news of late in the fight against coronavirus.

Automation of Covid-19 Testing

According to John Bayley, Technical Content Manager at Hamilton Bonaduz, they are involved in the automation of Covid-19 testing. “My primary area of focus is automated liquid handling for automated laboratory workflows. We have four main robotics platforms, which are all programmable, configurable, and upgradeable, depending on the specific scientific application being required to automate,” Bayley told Slator.

He explained, “A subset of the four robotic platforms is assay-ready; two of which are fully-automated workstations, intended to increase the speed and efficiency of coronavirus testing workflows. One of these specific workstations is ideal for isolating pathogen RNA, and the other automates CDC-authorized and FDA-cleared testing kits for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. Although these are specialized platforms, the translation workflow is the same for our standard platform-based projects.”

“Because we’re a small team, having the support of our vendor was very important to us; this is why we chose a full service provider”

John Bayley, Technical Content Manager, Hamilton Bonaduz AG
John Bayley

Although Bayley has been working in technical documentation for over two decades, he said, “Only since I moved to Europe in 2008 have I worked closely with translations and LSPs. I’ve been on the buy-side since 2012, when I led a technical documentation department in Germany within the machine building industry. Since then, precision liquid handling has been my focus. So coming to Switzerland for Hamilton was a natural and logical step. I love it here, and Hamilton is a wonderful company to work for.”

Standardizing Processes

As Technical Content Manager, Bayley is responsible for transforming and standardizing the underlying processes and workflows as well as the way content is created. “Working with translation vendors is one of the important processes I was charged with creating,” he said, adding that they opted for a full-service provider because they were a small team.

Bayley’s team worked closely with their provider to develop “a modularized concept, which already leads to cost savings even before the TMS step. The vendor has been wonderful in anticipating our needs, as well as helping to prepare modules for our standard PDF publication. Although this will eventually be transitioned to a Content Delivery Portal, the modularized approach is exactly what we need.”

“In addition to standard translation quality measures such as ISO 9001 & ISO 17100, certifications specific to medical and laboratory equipment were important to us”

Hamilton Bonaduz AG translates anywhere from three to five million words each year. This volume spans specifications, manuals, guides, marketing materials, as well as general editing and proofreading. The source language is always US English and translation is done into the core EU languages.

According to Bayley, “Content comes mostly from Project Leaders, Product Managers, Market Segment Leaders, and Quality Leaders. My team and I develop this content into several different kinds of deliverables, including manuals, guides, and marketing collateral. My challenge is modernizing our process and ramping up the widespread use of an XML-based Content Management System.”

He said that in addition to standard translation quality measures (e.g., ISO 9001, ISO 17100), certifications specific to medical and laboratory equipment are also important to the company. “Due to increasing regulatory demands associated with IVDR (In Vitro Diagnostic Regulation), there are specific challenges involved with ensuring our source content and local language translation output remain compliant.”

As for file formats, Bayley’s team works with XML (Schema ST4), MS Office formats, and Adobe Creative Suite, among others. Their TMS is “SDL Studio connected to Schema ST4, and terminology management connected to the content management and translation systems via TermWeb.”