About Translate4Rail

Translation for breaking language barriers in the railway field


  • Rail freight and its future rely heavily on cross border exchanges
  • Corridors support a seamless approach for the rail freight offering
  • Nonetheless, interoperability barriers still exist, such as the B1 level language proficiency requirement
  • Allowing greater flexibility in terms of language without jeopardizing safety is a priority

Facts and Figures



Provide drivers and traffic controllers with a set of predefined messages in normal and exceptional circumstances in all countries.


Enable communication on the basis of these messages using a digital tool, via a prototype developed in the context of the project.


Pilot testing will take place on different corridors.


Project impact

Digital technology can support driver/signaler communication.

The approach/concept will improve:

  • Reliability
  • Capacity
  • Efficiency
  • RU competitiveness
  • Driver motivation
  • Sustainability of the system.

Project deliverables

Translate4Rail will deliver the following:
  • A Benchmark analysis of the state of the art in the field of speech to speech technology (within and outside the industry)
  • A list of pre-defined messages tailored for rail operation
  • Functional requirements for a translating tool
  • Guidelines for implementation based on pilot testing
  • Recommendations for uptake perspectives at European Level
  • Report on safety aspects
  • Communication plan
  • Data management plan
  • Project management and quality assurance plan

Translate4Rail prototype tool demonstration

Project structure




Union Internationale des Chemins de fer (UIC) and RailNetEurope (RNE).


This document is a deliverable of the Translate4Rail project. This project has received funding from the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 881779. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Shift2Rail JU members other than the Union.


The content of this document reflects only the author’s view and the JU is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

The information in this document is provided “as is”, and no guarantee or warranty is given that the information is fit for any particular purpose. The users use the information at their sole risk and liability. 


No part of this document may be copied, reproduced, disclosed or distributed by any means whatsoever, including electronic without the express permission of the authors. The same applies for translation, adaptation or transformation, arrangement or reproduction by any method or procedure whatsoever. The sole exceptions – noting the authors names and the source – are analyses and brief quotations justified by the critical, argumentative, educational, scientific or informative nature of the publication into which they are incorporated. 

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D1.1 Benchmark

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D1.2 Enhanced List of Predefined Messages

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D1.3 Tool requirements

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D2.1 Guidelines for implementation and description of the pilots – Part 1

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D2.1 Guidelines for implementation and description of the pilots – Part 2

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D2.1 Guidelines for implementation and description of the pilots – Part 3

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D4.1 Dissemination and Exploitation


December 15, 2021

During the final event of the Translate4Rail (T4R) project, UIC and RNE presented a language tool prototype solution to help overcome language barriers in international train operation

Judit Sandor, Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking Project Officer for T4R, opened the event by highlighting that rail plays an important role, particularly when it comes to the modal shift. “We know that multiple languages present a key challenge and that this requires attention. We must make sure that trains running between countries can be operated safely and efficiently.”
The different languages in international rail operation represent a key obstacle to interoperability. However, the sector’s ambition to implement a Read more…

July 7, 2021

Translate4Rail field tested on Villach-Tarvisio-Pontebba route

The Translate4Rail project, funded by Shift2Rail and managed by UIC and RNE, has reached a significant milestone by field testing its Language Tool prototype.
The Translate4Rail research project is developing a Language Tool prototype to meet the communication needs of train drivers and traffic controllers on cross border services (in normal, degraded and Read more…

April 21, 2021

5th TRANSLATE4RAIL project advisory board meeting held on 12 April

The Translate4Rail project began in December 2019 as a joint initiative between railway undertakings (represented by UIC) and infrastructure managers (represented by RNE), the aim being to enable communication between train drivers and traffic controllers who do not speak the same language.
The Shift2Rail-funded Translate4Rail (T4R) project held its fifth Read more…

January 14, 2021

Video: Translate4Rail Language Tool

The Translate4Rail project, funded by Shift2Rail and managed by UIC and RNE, has reached a significant milestone with the development and testing of the language tool prototype. The language tool will enable drivers and signallers from different countries to communicate safely and effectively with each other across language barriers.
Within the framework of the Read more…

October 14, 2020

Driving modal shift and proposing quick wins to implement a “drive-through” philosophy: a priority for the Rail Freight Forward (RFF) coalition

One of the priorities of the Rail Freight Forward (RFF) coalition is to proactively drive modal shift and propose quick wins to implement a ”drive-through” philosophy. This is achieved through UIC projects such as X Border, executed in collaboration with key partners such as RNE with the support of individual freight operators and infrastructure managers and thanks to programmes Read more…

March 10, 2020

UIC and infrastructure manager organisation RailNetEurope work together to remove language barriers in Europe

During their first advisory board on 25 February, UIC and RNE reported on their Shift2Rail funded project Translate4Rail. Translate4Rail aims at developing a language tool that removes the cumbersome language barriers in international train operations. Despite many attempts to overcome interoperability issues, the need of a level B1 language certificate for train drivers is still one Read more…


Project coordinator: UIC Freight Department

This project has received funding from the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 881779.

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