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English-Friendly Emblems Are Unveiled, Upping the Pace of Tainan’s Internationalization

 

On October 27th, Tainan City Government unveiled the English-Friendly Emblems that will be awarded to service providers who can use English for serving foreign customers. The English-Friendly Emblem scheme is aimed at encouraging the private sector to join in creating an English-friendly environment in Tainan, to speed Tainan on the way to becoming an international city, and is an important part of the drive to establish English as the city’s second official language.
 
Presiding at the official unveiling of the emblems in City Hall, the city government’s deputy secretary-general, Liu Shih-Chung, called upon Tainan’s service providers to participate in this scheme. He said the more there were that earned the English-Friendly Emblem in various service industries, the better Tainan would be able to cater to English speakers, and the faster it would advance toward the goal of becoming an English-friendly city. 

Deputy secretary-general Liu described the launch of the English-Friendly Emblem scheme as a big step forward for Tainan’s internationalization. With an evaluation mechanism fitted to each type of service covered by the scheme, it would help providers attain English-friendliness appropriate to their services, and award them the emblem to conspicuously identify this attainment. 

The types of services covered by the scheme are those most likely to be used by foreign nationals who live in Taiwan or visit for holiday, business, or other purposes. They include shops, food and drink sellers, medical institutions, parking lots, buses, and both ordinary and tourist taxis. The city government bureaus of economic development, public health, transportation, and tourism provide guidance and support to help candidates meet the requirements for award of the emblems.       

There are two different emblems that service providers can earn. The English-Friendly Emblem will be awarded to those that create an English-friendly environment by, for example, providing bilingual menus in eateries, bilingual destination boards in taxis, and English route information for buses. In addition, the “We Speak English” emblem will be awarded to applicants that not only meet the requirements for bilingual signage and other information, but also display sufficient proficiency in using English for spoken communication. 
   
The staff of the city government’s Office of English as the Second Official Language have spent a year planning and preparing for the implementation of this scheme. During this time, they have invited native speakers of English to visit shops and other service establishments to assess their English-friendliness and their service staff’s English proficiency according to the standards set by the respective government bureaus. 

This preparatory phase has demonstrated that the scheme is fully ready to achieve its twin purposes: on the one side, to encourage private service providers to create a bilingual environment and raise their basic English service ability; and on the other side, to make life easier for foreigners in Taiwan by showing them where they can receive service in English without needing to worry about encountering a language barrier. Thus, foreigners who come to Tainan, whether for travel, work, study or to live here for any other purpose, will be able to feel that Tainan is taking true and firm steps toward internationalization.

The scheme has already begun to produce substantial results, with a significant number of service providers having passed assessment for award of one or both of the emblems. Those achieving this distinction include approximately 40 local shops or food & beverage providers, 7 English-friendly hospitals, 380 buses with bilingual signs, 5 parking lots with bilingual signage, and 3,800 ordinary taxis plus 280 tourist taxis with bilingual destination boards. 

Besides displaying the emblems on their premises, vehicles and websites, holders will have their status and details put on popular travel apps and websites, such as TripAdvisor. The exposure they receive on such online platforms will highlight Tainan’s English-friendly environment and help attract more foreign tourists. 

In the future, the city government will gradually broaden the range of services covered by the scheme. As City Hall expands its mentoring and helps more and more service providers to qualify for the emblems, Tainan’s English service abilities will steadily improve, and its development into a truly international city will gain increasing momentum.
 
*The Info of Bus Line: 
*The Info of shops with English-Friendly Emblems: