南市首推9間「英語友善寺廟」,雙語靈籤讓外籍遊客驚喜Tainan City Encourages Cross-Cultural Understanding Through English Friendly Temples


全臺灣寺廟超過上萬座,以數量而言,臺南市居首。為建置英語友善環境,行銷臺南深具在地特色與文化內涵的宮廟文化,南市府第二官方語言專案辦公室(以下簡稱:二官辦)與民政局合作,試辦「英語友善(English Friendly)寺廟」,除了協助重要廟宇建置雙語環境,部分廟宇甚至還將靈籤翻譯成日文與英文,讓外籍遊客大感驚喜有趣。


「英語友善寺廟」是臺南市政府「英語友善標章(English Friendly Emblem)」計畫重點輔導項目,該計畫去年開始,即陸續輔導餐廳、公車、計程車等業者進行雙語化,今(106)年,則擇定寺廟為雙語環境建置亮點。試辦階段由民政局邀請九座廟宇參與雙語環境建置,藉由建立示範模式,提供其他廟宇參考。日前已有全臺首廟天壇、臺南祀典武廟及大天后宮先行建置完畢,其餘六家預計年底前完成。期待未來有更多廟宇加入。

    二官辦進一步表示,為實際了解外籍人士的需求,在初期籌備階段,便邀請本府外籍顧問Chris Caputo到寺廟勘查,目的即為提供外籍人士最完善的雙語資訊及服務,打造全臺獨一無二的英語友善寺廟。Mr. Caputo表示,考量到外籍觀光客多來自不同宗教,因此除了提供雙語的寺廟歷史簡介、參拜路線圖、道教祭祀用品簡介外,我們更貼心地提供廟宇參拜禁忌雙語說明,讓遊客了解宗教禮儀,避免誤觸禁忌而造成不必要的誤會,這樣才是真正的「英語友善」環境。


  民政局表示,今年度參與的寺廟分別有: 台灣首廟天壇、大天后宮、北極殿、安平開台天后宮、臺灣府城隍廟、臺灣祀典武廟、鹿耳門天后宮、臺南大觀音亭暨興濟宮、正統鹿耳門聖母廟,共9間寺廟。未來,也會將翻譯過的雙語資訊放置在官方網站上,鼓勵更多寺廟自行建置雙語化環境服務,讓全臺南市的廟宇都能一同共襄盛舉。

     Tainan City is attempting to open a novel conduit to facilitate global understanding.  In keeping with Mayor William Lai’s vision to use English as a springboard toward becoming a world city, Tainan’s Office of English as the Second Official Language (OEASOL) and Civil Affairs Bureau (CAB) have teamed up to create a more welcoming atmosphere in the ancient capital’s temples.  Tainan’s many temples draw tourists from around the globe and the English Friendly Temples project aims to afford them a deeper appreciation for Tainan’s religious traditions, even to the point of allowing them to participate in religious rituals themselves.

      This spring, city officials began to collect and translate temple histories, floor plans, worship routes and basic ritualistic protocols in order to increase accessibility to temple life for those who have never before been exposed to traditional Taiwanese religious practices.  “We are hoping to foster understanding and stimulate cross-cultural dialogue,” commented Tainan City’s Deputy Secretary-General Liu Shih-chung.  “Many tourists and other visitors to Tainan’s famous temples are amazed by the architecture and artistry, but may find their religious underpinnings bewildering.”  For foreign visitors who are interested in religious culture, the English Friendly project provides them with a means of approach.  “We want to bridge that gap,” Mr. Liu concluded.

     The English Friendly Temples project tailors translations to fit the needs of each temple.  Representatives from OEASOL and CAB, which oversees the temple administration citywide, visit temples that are interested in joining the program in order to better assess their needs.  “Many of the bilingual signs we provide can be recycled, but each temple has a unique history,” said Chris Caputo, the OEASOL’s foreign consultant.  “Though it can be an enormous struggle to translate religious concepts, participating in this project has allowed me a perspective into Taiwanese society very few foreigners get to see.”

      Working together, OEASOL and CAB provide English and Chinese signs that explain everything from the history of the temple and the principal gods and goddesses inside, to the correct way to enter and exit the temple, to the blessing of talismans and why worshippers burn joss paper. There are even detailed instructions on how to throw poe (bwabwe) in order to divine your fortune. Tiangong Temple has gone so far as to translate a complete set of fortunes into English and Japanese. 

       Recent English-speaking visitors to Tiangong were delighted to reveal their fortunes by directly participating in the ceremony themselves.  Temples taking part in the English Friendly program also receive placards explaining how to present offerings and prayers to gods.  In the spirit of creating an atmosphere that is truly friendly to foreign visitors, there are signs at the entrance to each temple designed to protect visitors from committing potentially embarrassing taboos such as stepping on the doorsill or entering through the center door. 

       Tiangong, Guan Gong and Tainan Grand Matsu Temples have successfully completed the requirements and earned “English-Friendly” status.  Six other temples, including the Tainan City God and Beiji Temples, have begun the process and expect to be certified before the end of October this year.