Wed, May 16, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Tainan seeking ‘secret diners’ to assess restaurants

Staff writer with CNA

The Tainan City Government wants to use “secret diners” to provide feedback on service at English-friendly eateries in the city this summer, the Tainan Office of English as the Second Official Language (OEASOL) said yesterday.

Under the program to be launched next month, 100 foreign nationals living in Taiwan would be given NT$2,000 each to fund their meals at Tainan restaurants and then report back to the city government with their impressions and suggestions, OEASOL Director Lee Hsien-wei (李賢衛) said.

The feedback should cover the restaurants’ bilingual language service, menus and brochures, Lee said.

Registration for the program is to open next month, with the assessments to be conducted from next month through the end of August, OEASOL Deputy Director Sabrina Tien (田玲瑚) said.

Building on a previous initiative to help the city’s businesses foster English-friendly environments, OEASOL is shifting its focus to help with marketing efforts, Lee said.

This includes helping distribute restaurants’ bilingual coupons and vouchers to foreign students in Tainan to promote local food, he said.

The three-year-old OEASOL has been striving to “provide English resources to both foreigners and citizens, and to establish an environment that is friendly to both English speakers and English learners,” the office says on its Web site.

With OEASOL’s efforts, Tainan now has more than 500 English-friendly shops, and the office also helps correct inaccurate or confusing translations in shops and restaurants, Lee said.

As an example of the problems encountered on English-language menus, an American who attended college in the city said that one eatery translated its chicken nuggets as “McDonald’s best friend,” while another translated the name for a vegetable dish as “I can’t find it on Google, but it is delicious.”

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