Taiwan, known for its delicious food and night markets, is no doubt the hotspot for these mouth-watering snacks. Still, have you ever wondered how to introduce these delicacies to your foreign friends?
隨著外國觀光客增加，同時也考驗商家的外語能力，像是許多人會選擇的伴手禮綠豆糕的英文，其實正確說法從來不是「green bean cake」。「講了多年的green bean不是綠豆，而是四季豆，難怪向外國觀光客介紹產品的時候，客人都面露拒絕的驚嘆號，原來綠豆糕正確的英文是mung bean cake！」
With more and more travelers visiting Taiwan, business owners are both pumped up and somehow worried at the same time. Translating these traditional dishes’ names can be a real challenge for them. For example, “綠豆糕,” even with a character referring to the color green, is not “green bean cake” in English. Instead, a more proper translation is “mung bean cake.”
A pastry shop owner from Taitung County was surprised upon being told that they have mistaken the name of the shop’s signature pastry for years.
A souvenir retailer from Pingtung County also shared his awkward moment with us, “I once read a 200-dollar price tag as “twenty dollars” to foreign customers. I even had to confirm with him whether he still wanted our products. I had my fingers crossed that he wouldn’t ask for more information. How I wish I could avoid mistakes like this.”
Commissioned by R.O.C. Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Commerce Development Research Institute(CDRI) has started to work on building a more English-friendly environment around popular traveling destinations.
In accordance with the “Blueprint for Developing Taiwan into a Bilingual Nation by 2030” promoted by the Executive Yuan, CDRI cooperates with private English institutes to hold English-enhancing workshops and offer English lessons for the shop owners running business near tourist attractions. So far, many shop owners at “Jiufen Old Street” in New Taipei City, “Lukang Old Street” in Changhua County, Tungkang Town at Pingtung County and Chengkung Town at Taitung County have participated in these workshops and classes.
The workshops and the lessons focus on improving the owners’ English proficiency, with more attention paid to the conversation. The aim is to help the owners introduce their products to foreign guests and to better cope with the customers’ need. In the workshops, shop owners are also assisted with translating promotional lines and direction signs.