I’m all for transit-friendly literature bringing the masses together by crossing over language barriers, but naming the Metro Gold Line’s Eastside Extension as “La Linea de Oro” (literal Spanish translation of “Gold Line”) in Metro’s Spanish language literature isn’t really the answer. (See LA Times Blog: MTA Approves Spanish Translation of Gold Line)
I do like Gloria Molina and I understand her reasoning that a majority of users in the Eastside Extension are Spanish speakers, but here’s the thing about naming conventions: you want to brand with familiarity.
There are many different cultures and languages throughout Los Angeles and if we replicate this translation in those other texts, the brand of “Metro Gold Line” is going to get diluted. As a public transit user, people ask questions all the time from other passengers of where to go and what direction. What if the person looking for “La Linea de Oro” can’t tell a non-Spanish speaker “Metro Gold Line”? My Spanish language skills are not that great, but I know what “La Linea de Oro” means. However, if someone were to come up to me and ask which one was “La Linea de Oro”, it’d take me awhile to realize they meant.
Not to mention I don’t think the “color branding” is fully utilized enough. While I LOVE the monitors that tell you the time the subway is arriving (I honestly don’t know how we did without them for so long), they don’t say the colors of the lines – it’s “North Hollywood” and “Wilshire/Western” and “Union Station”. Perhaps how we phrase things in any language woudn’t matter that much if we had colored boxes and color indications on trains?