Can Taiwanese people speak English? 台灣人會說英語嗎?

Can you survive in Taiwan with just English? Do Taiwanese people speak English? 台灣人會說英語嗎? I’ll tell you about my experiences speaking English in Taiwan. ^^
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The question I want to talk about today, that I have been asked a lot, is:
“Can you survive in Taiwan (for a trip or for longer term) if you can only speak English?”

From my experiences, in big cities in Taiwan, it is so easy to get around with only English.
Many people speak English, many signs and directions, everything is also indicated in English.
I think the only place where I had some trouble not understanding was in more traditional places
For example: restaurants. If you go to a restaurant and it is owned by an elderly couple who make the food themselves,
In that case you find a little menu where you need to indicate what you want and that will be in Chinese.
In that case, you just have to go with your Taiwanese friends.
In other cases, I think life is very easy in Taipei with only English.
Even if the person in front of you that you are talking to does not speak English well,
If they are not confident about their English, they will just grab another person next to them who will speak English well.
I cannot remember any big issue I had with the language.
Maybe only in specific cases like for example: when I had to buy a mattress at IKEA.
I had very specific questions about the measurements, the delivery time, the way they would deliver it, things like that.
That was hard to figure out by myself, so luckily, I had my awesome roommate helping me.
She came with me to IKEA and helped me place the order.
In some cases, you might need some help, but believe me: Taiwanese people are so friendly and welcoming to foreigners.
That’s how I experienced it and I have heard from many friends that they experienced the same.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Big cities should be no problem at all. But once you get out of the big cities,
It is the same in every single country in the world I think:
In the big cities people are more international, everything is ready to welcome tourists there.
It will be very easy. Once you get out of the big cities, that’s where you might have some trouble.
Even when you go to smaller places outside of big cities in Taiwan, I feel like many young people will have learned English at school.
Even though the conversations might not always be perfect, many people can understand the basics and can communicate
Maybe with arms and feet? X)
Actually I had a lot of conversations where we could not totally understand each other,
But one way or the other, using facial expressions, using your hands and pointing at things
You can communicate so much already! You would be surprised.
I would not worry about travelling to the countryside.
Even if the first person you meet won’t speak English, there will always be someone, somewhere around who can help you in English.
也許胳膊和腳? x)

I feel like if you have the time on your hands, it is always a good idea when you travel to a country to learn a few words that you might use a lot.
For example: “hello”, “thank you”, “where is …?”
It doesn’t have to be many pages long, but it can be a nice little gesture to the people and the country you are visiting,
that you took the time and trouble to learn these simple words.
Of course I understand perfectly (because I was in the same situation), that not everybody has the time to learn the whole language before going there.
That is perfectly okay. I think Taiwanese people are very understanding
and they are happy that you are coming to their country to learn about their culture and especially their food!
Taiwanese people are so proud about their food and there is a good reason.
I don’t have to say anything more. Just go there and try the food!
沒關係。 我覺得台灣人很了解
我不必多說了。 只是去那裡嘗試食物!

29 Replies to “Can Taiwanese people speak English? 台灣人會說英語嗎?”

  1. Roberto S

    I just saw in the news that Taiwan officially opened its borders to foreigners who are not residents. For now only business and student visas are being issued. But soon tourist and family visit visas will follow.
    In Taiwan food takes the center stage in daily life. There is a popular adage "meals are as important as the emperor". So true. By the way, there is a Belgian couple, Kim and Naick, who are making a big wave in Taiwan in case you have not seen their videos.

  2. 水月



  3. Lansrow Hsieh

    Well, sweet Taiwan provides two kind of living environments for foreigners. One for people who don’t want to learn Taiwan’s national language(actually quite different from the China’s Chinese) in the cities. Another is for people who really want to learn our national language, in the countrysides.

  4. Ken Don

    Most Taiwanese listening is not good, but what you speak slowly and clearly, I can understand 60% without subtitles.

    About looking at the menu,can use Google lens(APP) to take photos to translate text.
    Modern tech helps us a lot.

  5. 李威儀

    I think your point that most things is right. but actually, more and more people can speak Englisg to abroad people. currently,you can see Englisgh explzation on any place, just like MRT,Bus satation,and famous reterant……..more and more even than small country side. we are very hard to improve our English level. just likes me. welcome to Taiwan. that's our pleasure.

  6. 安妮Annika

    Taiwanese people are so lovely and friendly!
    Even if they can't speak English, they will do their best to help you.
    I love Taiwan and hope I can soon go there again ♥️😄
    Will you travel back to Taiwan, when things get better?

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