Translation for breaking language barriers in the railway field
The Rastatt incident in 2017 has highlighted the problems posed by foreign languages in the rail sector. It also highlighted the need to find alternative methods that are more modern, flexible and precise to allow the operations of international trains crossing several countries where different languages are spoken.
The concept of the Translate4Rail project is to offer drivers a fully comprehensive set of predefined standardised messages which encompass all they have to exchange with an infrastructure manager traffic controller in normal or exceptional operational situations in a country where they do not understand nor speak the local language. An IT tool will then be implemented to enable the driver and the traffic controller to understand each other even though each of them speak in his/her native language.
This will capitalise on the works already committed on this matter between Infrastructure Managers (IMs) and Railway Undertakings (RUs) at RNE and UIC level. These works have dealt with the analysis of the various types of operational situations needing exchanges between RUs drivers and IMs signallers. The project will enable to test these works and to further harmonise and standardise pre-defined messages in the light of the tests carried out. Such messages will be uttered by the driver or the traffic controller. They will then be identified, translated and uttered in the language of the other party by the given tool.
The project will define the functional characteristics of the tool which will create a frame for the exchanges between drivers and traffic controllers. This tool will use voice recognition and translation applications. The tool will be tested on pilot trains running on cross border sections of rail freight corridors where drivers have to use different languages.
The project intends to at least maintain the level of safety, increase the traffic fluidity at borders and to increase the competitiveness of the rail sector.