Ever worried about communicating with the staff when shopping in Taiwan From now on, you can cast your worries away. When you see the “English Services Emblem” in retail stores, you can speak English to the service personnel without worrying about not being understood.
In recent years, the number of foreign visitors coming to Taiwan is steadily on the rise. The Research, Development and Evaluation Commission launched the “English Services Emblem” certification project in 2007 in order to evaluate businesses’ ability in providing English services, with an aim to provide English services to foreigners in Taiwan. Businesses are certified with the Emblem based on evaluations of facility & safety signboard, product & service, English ability and websites. According to the evaluation results, the qualified businesses are awarded with Gold or Silver English Services Emblem.
In 2007, businesses applying for certification were evenly distributed in various industries without clustering in any particular industry. The Emblem project this year will focus on the five industries most frequented by foreigners in Taiwan. They are Consumer Products & Services, Food, Beverage & Accommodation, Travel and Entertainment, Medical Services and Public Transportation. The advantage of carrying out improvement in these five industries is that foreigners who use these services will clearly know places where English services are provided.
This practice essentially creates a win-win situation for both the private sectors and the government. According to private businesses, being awarded the English Services Emblem means their facility and service have reached international standards. This achievement will be well received and recognized by foreigners. As for the government, the improved English service environment should raise Taiwan’s international image.
According to CPC, the evaluation standards are obviously different from those of the last year. Due to the fact that services provided in the five industries are different in nature, different standards will be adopted in evaluation to improve respective industries’ specialized English service. CPC also offers systematic guidance and assistance to help businesses get the certification and assigns both local and foreign advisers to give professional advice.
The promotion of English Services Emblem started two years ago and businesses that were awarded with the Emblems are not numerous. In addition, most foreigners express their opinions about the insufficient English services that businesses provide. To make this initiative sustainable, as pointed out by CPC, two major tasks have to be accomplished.
1. Enhancing the marketing and promotion of the English Services Emblem: Launching a marketing plan in the media that foreigners are frequently exposed to and therefore raising the profile of certified businesses. For instance, cooperating with the Google Map will make services more accessible to foreigners when needed. This action not only increases the popularity of businesses in foreigner consumers but also brings substantial business opportunities.
2. Constantly improving English proficiency: The ability of service personnel to communicate in English is vital for the quality of English service. And good English proficiency cannot be obtained overnight. Therefore, textbooks that are capable of arousing service personnel’s interests have to be compiled. Besides, the training should be conducted in a lively and interactive manner in order to increase service personnel’s proficiency. We believe that, under the steady promotion of the English Services Emblem, the service sector in Taiwan will gradually reach global standards. Foreigners living in Taiwan can therefore enjoy better English services.