2008-02-24

Let Your Fingers Do the Walking - Taiwan Tourism in the Yellow Pages (中華黃頁英文版建議老外如何遊台灣)


(see bottom of entry for links to higher resolution tourism page images)

It started at the height of last summer with an introduction to Chunghwa Yellow Pages (中華國際黃頁股份有限公司), the newly independent former subsidiary of the national telephone service provider Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信). Would I be interested to help proofread 70 or so pages of English slated for publication in the coming year's national Yellow Pages?

"Sure." Work was to follow a format applied from previous years and material would mostly be mined from earlier editions and updated as needed by YP staff.

An abiding interest in travel around the island led me to peruse the tourism sections of previous years' editions, which, not unexpectedly, were built of borrowings from various websites and information from the national Tourism Bureau. YP encouraged my being creative, particularly with this section, and invited me to pick and choose from information gathered over the years to make these pages more practical and attractive; important – they felt - to expanding Yellow Pages readership and, ultimately, increasing advertising revenues.

While guidebooks, travelogues and magazines dedicated to the ins and outs of Taiwan travel have inundated bookstore and convenience store shelves in recent years, their usefulness to non-Taiwanese readers is limited, as they are almost exclusively presented in Chinese and naturally tailored to local travel habits and preferences (e.g., easy access and good photo ops; night market reviews; souvenir shopping suggestions). While government budgets are being spent and things are improving in terms of foreign language information on Taiwan, presentations are still too often limited to summary translations of Chinese language material that are heavy on florid adjectives and trivia, and short on practical details and useful background information. Exploring Taiwan beyond Taipei City and a few major tourist attractions still requires a fair dose of "derring-do" and a steadfast confidence that good Samaritans along the way will point you in the right direction (which, in hospitable Taiwan, is still very much the case).

I pitched an idea to develop the tourism section of the upcoming edition of the English Yellow Pages from scratch... suggesting 4 general areas in Taiwan that I would visit and introduce from a perspective more familiar to overseas visitors. I wanted to create something that could be used as a practical travel guide by non-Chinese speaking travelers and which would set travelers up nicely for a 2 to 3 day stay in each area introduced.

The proposal included research, design, content development, photography, page layout ... the whole works. It went through, an agreement was signed and I set to work - with a deadline for 22 finished pages set 1-1/2 months away.

The following (click on a small images to open higher resolution scans) are a few pages from the 2007/2008 Taiwan English Yellow Pages, hot off the press (well, as of late January). It was a great experience. I learned much and had a chance to test out a different approach to introducing visitors and expatriates to Taiwan "off the beaten path".

(click to view higher resolution images)

(click to view higher resolution images)

(click to view higher resolution images)


JM

2 comments:

cfimages said...

Great work. That'll be a very helpful resource for non-Chinese readers in Taiwan.

Sandy said...

I'm impressed! Taiwan definitely needs more travel resources in English. I feel like there is so much that remains undiscovered on this island for visitors who cannot understand Chinese.