Ticket Machines Go Multilingual

M@
By M@ Last edited 107 months ago
Ticket Machines Go Multilingual

Never mind Diversity, TfL's underground ticket machines should be competing on Britain's Got Talent. Thanks to a software upgrade, the cosmopolitan consoles are now conversant in 17 languages (as long as the conversation is about ticket pricing). Previously, the machines could only cope with English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. An ecumenical enhancement will cater for speakers of Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, Polish, Punjabi, Tamil and Turkish. According to the BBC, over 300 languages are spoken in London, so there's still a long way to go before everyone has the joy of buying a ticket in their own native tongue. We're surprised that our city's original language of Latin hasn't made the upgrade, especially given the Mayor's proclivity for classicism. Anyone know how to say 'A one day travel card for zones 1 and 2' in Caesar's tongue? Image ㅁboy.

Last Updated 01 June 2009

shave

Sometimes I think promoting accessibility makes out society more fragmented. Why even bother learning English? Ultimately isolating ?

M@

It's a good point. I'd love to see it go completely the other way, though. Why not put up stickers around town with short phrases or vocab from other languages? So you learn snatches of Urdu with each passing lamp post, or pick up Spanish names for animals inscribed on the arms of park benches. The head-height panels on Tube Trains, often used for poetry on the underground, would make particularly good spaces for such text. A few daily dips into other cultures and languages could only be a good thing.