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Taiwan’s First English-friendly Traditional Market: Tainan's East Market Obtains English-friendly Certification

Tainan City has been actively creating English-friendly spaces and promoting English-friendly city policies, which include assisting stores and businesses in obtaining related language skill certifications. The city government aims to transform Tainan into an internationalized city with a distinct regional flair, and present the unique local culture and delicacies in an English-friendly environment. Last year, Tainan's East Market rolled out bilingual menu services, being the first market to do so in Taiwan. The English-friendly market project attracted about fifty participating vendors, all of which have successfully acquired their English-friendly certifications.


Tainan City Mayor Huang Wei-che stated that they have managed to achieve outstanding results with limited resources since the city launched English-friendly city measures. The objective is to help market vendors comfortably use bilingual menus and simple English conversation skills to introduce specialty goods to foreigners, so that overseas visitors can also experience the warm and friendly traditional market culture.


The Office of English as the Second Official Language mentioned that during the initial stage of this project, some vendors were not very willing to cooperate. Nevertheless, the city government still helped them create bilingual menus and signs, and provided simple English conversation courses. Slowly, the vendors’ attitudes began to change. Now they can sell their home-grown produce to foreign visitors with simple phrases such as "we grow by ourselves".


Bilingual host Ethan Liu remarked that regionally-specific dishes and items are the most difficult to explain and express. However, in Tainan's first English-friendly traditional market, vendors can offer bilingual menus and enthusiastically chat with foreign visitors with simple English, and travelers can easily find what they want while being very impressed by the local vendors’ passion for learning and communicating.