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Table of contents

What is in-flow translation and why is it important?

As part of the migration of cross-border payments towards ISO 20022 MX, SWIFT will provide the In-flow Translation service during the three-year coexistence period that starts in November 2022. ‘In-flow translation’ means that the translation happens during the processing of the message at SWIFT. 

This allows for the receipt of both FIN MT and ISO 20022 MX, also referred to as multi-format. This approach aims to facilitate the integration in the receiver's application environment in cases where not all applications can (yet) support the ISO 20022 MX format.

What is the difference between the In-flow Translation service, the transaction manager in the platform and local translations with SWIFT Translator?

For transactions eligible for the transaction manager, interoperability from MX to MT will be delivered using the In-flow Translation service. For transactions out of scope of the transaction manager (e.g. cash management messages), for which translation rules are established by the CBPR+ working group, central translation will also be provided by the In-flow Translation service.

A key design principle is that all transactions processed by the In-flow Translation service are always delivered as a multi-format message, with the original MX with embedded translated MT format. The In-flow Translation service will return a result for each completed translation with an associated code. These codes indicate either that a full translation has taken place, that there is a truncation, or that it was unsuccessful.

The below table compares processing by the In-flow Translation service and the transaction manager

FAQs ISO 20022

Central translation via the Inflow Translation service and the transaction manager is limited in terms of scope (to CBPR+ only) and time (until November 2025). For broader options or longer-term translation service requirements, a local translation can be provided via SWIFT Translator (or third parties’ translation services).

SWIFT Translator supports a wider range of pre-defined translation libraries (e.g. CBPR+. ESMIG, MEPS+…) and formats, with customisation also possible to meet specific processing requirements. Local translation can be deployed as a standalone component in the back-office environment or middleware layer or deployed as an integrated component in the SWIFT messaging interface (e.g. AMH). 

What messages are in scope of the In-flow Translation service and when are they live?

The messages listed in the table below are in scope of the In-flow Translation service (available for testing from November 2021). The service will then be activated for live use, on an opt-in basis, in August 2022, prior to the general availability of the transaction manager in November 2022.  

All translation rules from ISO 20022 to MT approved by the CBPR+ working group are available and published on MyStandards.


When can I start testing the In-flow Translation service?

The In-flow Translation service will be available on the FINplus pilot future service from 15 November 2021. As a prerequisite for accessing the service, customers will need to subscribe to the FINplus pilot future service (swift.finplus!pf ) and to have configured their messaging interface.

The In-flow Translation service will remain available for testing during the coexistence period, which begins in November 2021. SWIFT will accept test and training (T&T) BICs in messages for all FINplus test traffic. Please note that, in the latter part of the coexistence period, at a date to be defined in line with adoption levels of ISO 20022, T&T BICs will no longer be able to access FINplus.

How can I access the In-flow Translation service for testing?

The key readiness steps for testing In-flow Translation service are:

  • Subscribe to FINplus. <swift.finplus!pf>. FINplus enables the exchange of ISO2022 (MX) over SWIFTNet. It offers similar features to the FIN service (MT). These cover validation of industry usage guidelines including CBPR+. You can subscribe by completing the e-order form accessed via this page.
  • Upgrade your messaging interface to support the delivery of multi-format messages. (MX with embedded translated MT). For SWIFT products, version 7.6 of Alliance Access and 4.2 of AMH are the minimum releases required, with both available since July 2021. If you are using a third- party interface provider, please do check with them on the version required.
  • Configure your SWIFTNet emission and reception profiles with your Distinguished Names (DNs) to send and receive traffic on FINplus. The default DN for test traffic, which is derived from your registered BIC11, is as follows: ou=<live branch or “xxx”>,o=<live bic8>,o=swift

Please note, while the RMA Service is a mandatory prerequisite for message exchanges in the live environment, it is optional for the T&T phase.

For more information on readiness steps, please see the Customer Adoption Guide hosted in the ISO 20022 hub on SWIFT.com (log in required).

Where can I find the translation rules used by the In-flow Translation service (i.e. myStandards CBPR+ rules)?

The In-flow Translation service is based on the translation rules defined by the CBPR+ Working Group. These rules are published on MyStandards.

Will in-flow translation for CBPR+ be provided after November 2025?

SWIFT is providing central translation via the In-flow Translation service to ensure interoperability during the three-year coexistence period (November 2022 – November 2025). This enables banks to adopt ISO 20022 at their own pace while early adopters (and their customers) can fully benefit from richer and more structured data.

The MT category 1, 2, and 9 messages supporting cross-border payments and reporting flows will be retired in November 2025. There is currently no plan for SWIFT to provide the In-flow Translation service beyond November 2025. If at that point, your business requires an extension of translation services to accommodate a longer coexistence of legacy systems, an on-premise translation service could be considered.

If my back office is ISO 20022 native, can I opt-out of the In-flow Translation service?

From November 2021, the In-flow Translation service will be made available for testing in the FINplus pilot future service environment. By default, all messages will be delivered as multi-format (MX with embedded translated MT). The interface will ‘unwrap’ the message and be able to pass it on in the preferred format according to your message partner’s setting. As an example, MT messages can be routed to legacy payment application and MX to screening or archiving applications.

From August 2022, the In-flow Translation service will be made available for live traffic, enabling testing with agreed counterparties. The live service will be offered on an opt-in basis, requiring bilateral agreement, including via the use of the RMA service. During this phase, the multi-format (MX with embedded translated MT) will be the default delivery mechanism.

SWIFT will provide a configuration screen (GUI) where financial institutions can define the channel and format for the data they receive. Changes to these settings take effect in real time. These settings are applicable both to data that is processed by the transaction manager as well as messages that are processed by in-flow translation only. This configuration is based on parameters consisting of the receiver’s BIC8 or BIC11, optionally in combination with message type and/or currency.

In order to support legacy business applications that can handle only the MT format, the default value will be that SWIFT will deliver the data for an institution using ‘ISO 20022 with embedded MT format’, (sometimes referred to as ‘multi-format MX’). This means that institutions that are not yet ready to receive the ISO 20022 format do not need to access the configuration screen as they will receive the ISO 20022 with embedded MT format message by default. 

Where can I find more technical information on the In-flow Translation service?

SWIFT will continue to update the ISO 20022 hub and the knowledge centre on SWIFT.com with relevant technical and operational updates. More information about the In-flow Translation service can be found in the Knowledge Centre.

What is the pricing for the In-flow Translation Service?

The In-flow Translation service will be free of charge during 2022 and 2023. A pricing review will be undertaken in 2023 to define the pricing model for the remaining two years of coexistence, ending in November 2025.

What are the translation results provided by the In-flow Translation service?

The ISO 20022 MX is richer and more structured. It is therefore possible that full translation of MX elements into MT cannot be achieved because of ISO richness (e.g., longer data size or the presence of new elements with no equivalence in MT, such as ultimate debtor/creditor).

Translation results can be distinguished under following five categories:


Success where the full ISO 20022 message is translated


Almost success where the resulting MT is fully translated but not all elements of the ISO 20022 message end up in the translated MT

Note: TRAK code will be implemented in Q2 2022.


Truncation or character replacement occurred in non-reference fields


Truncation or character replacement occurred in reference fields present in the MT


Failure to translate