My apologies if you are one of my subscribers and you were hoping for an article about Brexit and the importance of the Single Market and Free Movement! This little folly began life as a project for a rainy day over New Year. It then languished in a desktop folder for a couple of months and I have only just completed it (or rather got it to the draft stage).

The idea is simple enough — a translation of the London Underground map into Spanish. The inspiration for this came from Mr Horst Prillinger, who produced an excellent version of the London Tube map in German. Of course German is a better language in which to work because it has more similarities with English in the way that single words/names are formed from phrases. Moreover, many English place names are formed from Old English or Saxon particles (-ton, -don, -wich, -ham, -wold, etc.). Thus an English place name like “Finchley” (a clearing or pasture [lea, ley, leigh] inhabited by finches) can be rendered briefly in German as “Finkenwald” whereas in Spanish, rather more words are required: “Claro de los Pinzones”.

Spanish speakers will note that articles (el, la, los, las) and prepositions (al, de, del, etc.) have been omitted in order to make the names fit the map. I hope that even with such contractions, the sense is still clear.

Some names are straightforward translations (so Angel becomes Ángel and Bank becomes Banco). Some are jokey transliterations (West Ham to Jamón Oeste). Others dig deeper into the etymology of the place name. Thus “Alperton” is so named because it was originally “Albert’s farm” (‘ton’ is farm, homestead or settlement), therefore it is rendered on my map as “Granja de Alberto”. This is also an example of abbreviation — it should probably be “La Granja de Alberto”.

London station names include a great many hills, streets/roads and lanes, as well as -tons, -dens-, -boroughs etc. I have varied these names somewhat, so that not every English ‘lane’ is a callejón, and not every ‘high street/road’ is a calle principal (some might be grandes vías).

I would very much appreciate any comments, criticisms or questions before I make this post public. I daresay one or two station names have slipped through the net and haven’t been translated. Do let me know if you spot any! Please contact me using the comment section below, or else contact me via Twitter (DMs are open).

I have already spotted:

Chiswick Park, Turnham Green, Stamford Brook

Anyway, here is the map (1.5MB pdf):


Coming soon — an English translation of the Madrid Metro.