Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sacre Bleu Line!

Note: I am now blogging at Robert David Sullivan. Please visit! The MBTA's new Web site is in 15 different languages, but the translations, at least in French, are a bit too literal. (Go to Charlie on the MBTA for good gripes about all things T-related.) I don't get why the station names are translated at all, since a French speaker who reads that "Coin de champs" is the closest station to where he wants to go would be better off knowing that all the signs at that station say "Fields Corner." And he would be better off asking a Bostonian "Does thees train go to Feeelds Cornair?" than saying the name of the station in French. Here are some of my favorite stops: BLUE LINE Le Suffolk avale la station (Suffolk Downs, or The Suffolk Swallows the Station). Run for your lives! Vénérez la station de plage (Revere Beach, or Venerate the Beach's Station!). The MBTA, naturally, prefers the imperative tense. Station non-conformiste (Maverick). It spits on your bourgeois Charlie Cards. GREEN LINE Station de prudence (Prudential Center, or Caution Station). En arrière de la station de colline (Back of the Hill, or The Back of the Station Called "Hill"). RED LINE Station carrée de bagagiste (Porter Square, or Person Who Carries Bags Square). Station de maître d'hôtel (Butler Street, or Butler Whose Name Is Probably Not Butler Station)* *Marilyn Monroe warned about this possible confusion in "All About Eve":
[a butler passes by] Miss Claudia Caswell: Oh, waiter! Addison DeWitt: That is not a waiter, my dear, that is a butler. Miss Claudia Caswell: Well, I can't yell "Oh butler!" can I? Maybe somebody's name is Butler. Addison DeWitt: You have a point. An idiotic one, but a point.

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