Wednesday 7 July 2021

Translate4Rail field tested on Villach-Tarvisio-Pontebba route

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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 emergency situations).

Translate4Rail offers train drivers and traffic controllers a fully comprehensive set of ready-to-use, predefined messages (PDM) which cover their communication needs in all operational situations. These specific messages will be channelled through the language tool prototype being developed by Translate4Rail enabling drivers and traffic controllers to understand each other while each speaking in their native languages. After testing the Translate4Rail Language Tool prototype in the laboratory, the Translate4Rail team went into the field to test the prototype in real operational conditions, using two scenarios by testing in “standstill” and “running” modes on the Austrian-Italian border.

The tests were performed with the significant involvement of experts from two infrastructure managers, RFI and ÖBB Infra, and four railway undertakings: DB Cargo, Lokomotion, Rail Cargo Austria and Rail Traction Company.

The tests commenced on 30 June in Tarvisio-Pontebba/Pontebba-Tarvisio and continued on the Austrian side on 1 July in Arnoldstein-Villach/Villach-Arnoldstein, where several defined modules were tested.

To ensure safety during the tests, bilingual drivers and traffic controllers were involved in field tests.

During the tests, train drivers and traffic controllers used the Translate4Rail language tool prototype to communicate with each other, proving the concept of predefined messages in a safe environment.

Example of PDMs to illustrate the concept:

Thanks to the very high enthusiasm of colleagues involved in the field tests, together with strong support from third parties, especially ÖBB TS, Frequentis and the Translate4Rail Language Tool developer Synvance, the work on the Translate4Rail Language Tool prototype using the database of predefined messages can continue to the next phase of the field tests.

Based on their experience during the tests, drivers and traffic controllers will provide feedback on language tool evaluation, ergonomics (tablet usage), and tool adaptation for daily operations. On this basis, the Translate4Rail research project will provide recommendations for the adaptation and enhancement of the Language Tool to be used in daily operations.

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.

For further information, please contact Parinaz Bazeghi, Digital Project Manager, at

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