Note: I first ran this post in Spring 2007 on a now-defunct blog. I'm pleasantly surprised that it's still accurate. But I'm as confused as ever. See additions at bottom.
The MBTA's new Web site is in 15 different languages, but the translations, at least in French, are a bit too literal. 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:
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.
UPDATE: I should have also mentioned Station du pays des merveilles (Wonderland) just because the French version leads to greater disappointment if you get off the train there.
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'").
UPDATE: Note that the Heath Street stop on the E Line, which would seem pretty simple for a French speaker to remember, is translated to Station de rue de bruyère, which may make one wonder whether it's named after this guy.
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.
UPDATE: There have been a couple of changes since 2007. The Orange Line, which was kind of boring, now has Station de centre médical de touffes (Tufts Medical Center, needlessly translated to "Clumps of Grass Medical Center.") And the new Silver Line bus route can bring you to the Centre de conception (Design Center, which is actually an accurate translation but could sound racy to English ears, thanks to a partial faux ami.)