In another thread in this forum, Hobart wrote:
quote[quote]Can you also put on your website a link to the official post office site or post office romanization. It changes from time to time to and I want to make sure that they have proper spellings of my address for international deliverys. I assume however that it is different in many areas.[/quote]
I’m starting a new thread, because the answer is long.
The postal service website is at www.post.gov.tw (Warning: Like many other government websites, which are often astonishingly poorly designed, this one is not standards-compliant and thus doesn’t handle Netscape well on many pages.)
There is an also English section: http://www.post.gov.tw/eup.asp
If you want to see how the postal service romanizes your city and street, you can download a program (10.9 MB) that will also provide you with the three-digit zip code: http://www.post.gov.tw/ezip32w.htm
You can also get it in one big file at
I think there is also an on-line version. Would someone who can read Chinese better and faster than I post the URL for that, please?
Note: The program interface is in Chinese only. If you can read only a little Chinese, you should open the program and then press button number three. Then select your city or county in the far left column. Then continue your selections from left to right. The romanization will appear in red in the bottom row.
All that said, however, I can’t say for certain that the post office’s recommendations are really the best ones to follow to ensure the timely delivery of your mail. Don’t bet on even post office employees knowing their own system well. I’ve given the post office romanization (which appears to be MPS2 for street names but traditional – usually bastardized Wade-Giles – for city names) to friends and family overseas; but it hasn’t always worked. My younger brother sent me a package labelled that way last October; it never made it to my house, though it was returned to America.
I recommend doing what I’ve done: make a JPG or GIF of your address in Chinese characters and place it about twelve times (roughly the size of an A4 sheet) on a Web page, which others can view and print. Then have them cut the printout into pieces and paste one on an envelope.
The very worst thing to do would be to trust blindly whatever is written on the street sign near your house, and advise friends and family overseas to use that spelling. As everyone who has been in Taiwan for more than a day or two knows, the postal service may have a (little-used) standard for the nation, but there is no standard for street signs.
I think this is another strong argument for the use of hanyu pinyin. But of course you knew already that I’d say that
I’ve been meaning to add a links page to my site. Thanks for the reminder.