What exactly is the Taipei Times' policy on romanization?
As the English-language newspaper in Taiwan that is perceived to be closest to the pulse of our government, I wonder if the use of the Chinese system of romanization might give the impression that, like Chairman [sic] Ma [Ying-jeou (馬英九)] of Taipei City, the Taipei Times has decided that globalization and assimilation are in the best interests of Taiwan.
Last year I did some volunteer translation work for Taroko National Park. The park is an agency of the central government (Ministry of the Interior, Construction and Planning Administration,) so I used the Tongyong system.
However, prior to the presidential election this year, I was told by the people in the Interpretation Section that "we are going to wait on choosing a romanization system until after the elections." Interesting. Whatever the pros and cons of the competing systems, it is indeed a political issue.
We have heard time and again that "if you Taiwanese can't get your act together, how do you expect others to stand up for you in the international arena?" While I appreciate that a number of foreign reporters, businesspeople and perhaps members of editorial staffs have a strong preference for the People's Republic of China's system of romanization, when it comes to issues of Taiwanese national identity, I hope these folks will stick with analysis and keep their opinions to themselves. Let us Taiwanese who don't have second passports deal with the consequences of our opinions and decisions.
Editor's note: The Taipei Times has made its policy on romanization clear in its editorials on countless occassions. We use the romanization used by the local authorities in the area concerned, (ie, Pinyin in Taipei City, Tongyong in Taipei County) inasmuch as we are able to determine what that system may be.