Year of collaboration

2019 to present

Context: Creating localized versions of complex documentation for an automated logistics hub

Ocado Engineering is part of the Ocado Group, which is the FTSE 100 listed grocery retailer, well known for pioneering online grocery shopping in the UK. Ocado have been exporting their cutting edge logistics model for several years, which includes the fully autonomous logistics centre. These centres operate with the combined efforts of hundreds of robots, that can expedite orders without the need for human intervention. In order for this system to work, each part of the process needs to work accurately and consistently.

Aim: Help Ocado Engineering translate and localize their documentataion into French and Swedish

While Ocado Engineering already has fully working logistics centres in the UK, in order to successfully reproduce this in France and Sweden, they needed to translate and localize documentation for these new centres. Although many of the engineers in those countries could use English manuals, for contractual, compliance, ease of use and customer experience reasons, it’s far better for Ocado to make sure they provide local language versions.

The installation, operation and maintenance manuals are about complex robots, the grids they operate in, and the infrastructure needed to maintain them. As well as concept, task and reference text, the manuals include diagrams, charts, schematics and other graphical elements that include or are supported by text – all of which needed to be translated.

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Challenges: Complex subject matter, different authoring tools, and authors with a range of skills

At the start of our collaboration, Ocado Engineering were in the process of standardising their manuals on MadCap Flare and establishing a standard approach from their authors.

While the documentation was of good quality and explained the ideas and processes well, it wasn’t optimised for translation and localization.

Because of the complex subject matter and the accuracy needed, this project needed translators that could not only work in the target language but also had the experience of working with robotics and automated systems.

Solution: 3di created a streamlined localization process, using subject matter expert translators

The 3di team:

  • Worked closely with Ocado engineers and authors to understand the content, and agreed standards for the way the English was to be written and with the way the tools were to be used to optimise the manuals for translation and localization.
  • With the Ocado Engineering Localization Manager, created multi-lingual glossaries before translation, and used XTMCloud to manage these alongside the growing translation memory databases. This helped to ensure consistency across documents, sped up the translation process, and minimised the review time needed by Ocado staff in the local markets.
  • Used translators with previous experience in translating content for robotics and autonomous systems, so that accuracy of terminology was maintained.

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Result: 3di successfully localized Ocado Engineering's documentation into their target languages

3di have helped Ocado Engineering optimise their content for localization – making the process quicker and more efficient.

  • The Ocado Engineering authors are now creating manuals that are more consistent, easier to translate, and reusing English that has already been translated, saving time and money.
  • The localization process has now been established and prototyped with the manuals needed for sites in Sweden and France. Ocado Engineering can now be confident that as they open up operations for customers in other countries, creating and localizing the manuals will get easier, supporting efficient deployment, and reinforcing the Ocado Engineering brand.

Find out more

Learn more about Ocado Engineering’s autonomous warehouses here

You can also read our blog post on how globalization and automation are affecting 3di and other technical communicators here

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