The Tainan City Government began issuing the English-Friendly Emblem (EF Emblem) as part of its effort to create an English-friendly environment and arouse the public and private sectors. After two years of hard work, the number of businesses that applied for and passed certification in the third year of the program set a new record of 555. During these three years, 1,233 EF Emblems have been issued, including 471 businesses that received the “EF+ Emblem” to indicate that they offer spoken English services. The city government organized an emblem presentation ceremony to thank private entities for their active participation in the program. Tainan City Mayor Huang Wei-che personally conferred the emblem to recipients including Tainan Municipal Hospital Superintendent Tsai Liang-miin, Tainan Hospital Deputy Superintendent Xie Jia-xing, Chi Mei Medical Center Director Liu Li-zhen, and National Cheng Kung University Hospital Chief Secretary Zhao Ting-xing, as well as representatives from other businesses.
Huang said his missions as mayor are to spotlight and bring Tainan’s cultural and historical connotations to the world, and allow Tainan’s residents to feel a sense of honor. Transforming Tainan into an English-friendly city is a very significant step forward towards internationalizing the city, and the most amazing thing is that Tainan residents have the same missions and are willing to work as one with the government to construct a city that is friendly towards the international community. The mayor added he expects the creation of a comprehensive English-friendly environment will bring Tainan to the attention of more people, resulting in more visitors and driving business opportunities.
Huang specially thanked Silks Palace Tainan general manager Li Jing-wen for generously taking the time to co-organize a series of international marketing seminars with the city government; providing “commonly-used travel accommodation English terms” through on-site inspections of guesthouses; and sharing practical experiences, all of which have helped accommodation providers to create an international environment. Huang also expressed his gratitude to taxi companies “Taiwan Metro Taxi” and “Ganglong,” noting that their owners set an example by offering incentives and English courses to encourage their drivers to learn English. The actions changed the previous setup where the city government offered “Taxi English Conversation Courses.” Taxi drivers can now register and participate at will, greatly increasing the number of drivers awarded the EF Emblem.
Knight e-scooter, which received the EF+ Emblem, said it completely supports this plan. Factory director Lin Kai-wen, who accepted the emblem on behalf of the company, added that the Economic Development Bureau offered English study courses and onsite one-on-one tutoring during the counseling service period. It also created a list of English terms specific for the company, so that it was no longer afraid to use English. Moreover, the city government also helps to market companies through its “English-Friendly Emblem Map” and a version of Google Maps with store information in English. They serve as references for foreigners, successfully attracting their visits and doubling results. Many businesses are now sharing this “good news” with their industry peers.
According to the city government, the counseling service provided by the “EF Emblem” program is offered to shops (including snack shops and night markets), guesthouses, drivers (taxi drivers and bus drivers), hospitals, historic sites, pharmacies, temples, cultural and creative parks, parking lots, and volunteer tour guides. These 10 large sectors cover the clothing, eating and drinking, accommodation, and transport industries. This way, foreign visitors can access bilingual services in the areas of eating and drinking, clothing, accommodation, and transportation as soon as they arrive in the city. Businesses have also taken advantage of this opportunity to practice the English phrases “that are useful for doing business,” thereby raising the city’s overall English proficiency. The information of all recipients of the EF Emblem has been added to the “Tainan English-Friendly Map” for the reference of foreign visitors. They can also look over bilingual menus and photos of food to prepare for their trips. The Tainan English-Friendly Map connects all walks of life, from “points” to “lines” to “planes,” turning Tainan into an “all-in-one” English-friendly environment (website address: http://efcity.tainan.gov.tw/).