Friday was a very big day for our @CitiesChallenge Team Taichung with our first press conference on the Smarter Cities Challenge project! The agenda featured Taichung Mayor Lin and IBM Taiwan Country General Manager Jennifer Hwang, and I had the honor of being the spokesperson for our team to highlight our experiences in the first week and preliminary recommendations. This was an amazing opportunity and tremendous experience, and we were pleased that all went well.
Check out this video story on National Taiwan TV News which will give you an overview — even if you cannot understand Chinese! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVAd8oPnYOM
Following the speeches, our team presented a gift to Mayor Lin of our Chinese calligraphy scroll (which says “Smarter Cities Taichung”) and a video was shown just before the gift presentation so that the audience could see the hard work and practice by the team to create the beautiful calligraphy. Mayor Lin and the audience seemed to truly appreciate this gift. Here’s a link to the video shown at the press conference of our calligraphy experience: https://youtu.be/4d4DPePiPoI
Mayor Lin presented a gift of some very special soap in a Taichung-themed package to IBM Taiwan Country General Manager Jennifer Hwang on behalf of all the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team members.
To wrap up the press conference, the leadership team from the City of Taichung joined Mayor Lin on stage, along with IBM Taiwan Country General Manager Jennifer Hwang and our SCC Team Taichung, for a photo with our IBM Smarter Cities Team Taichung banner. Photo opps are very important here!
After the press conference, I was interviewed by a local Taiwan radio station, and also by a national magazine which plans to run a feature story after our recommendations are presented at the end of the project. We’ve seen several stories come out, but as they are all in Chinese, I’ll not share them here. I do invite you to check out the TV news video at top of this blog.
This was an amazing experience, speaking to a large audience of city leaders, IBM leaders and media, with many cameras pointed in our direction, as well as learning the process of effectively managing translation between English and Mandarin Chinese.
To that point, several people have asked me about whether we have translators. In my prior IBM international travel, I have not used a translator and the primary language used in business has been English. In this case, we are working with many people within the city and with their local business partners, as well as media for the press conference. While many speak excellent English (such as Mayor Lin, who actually studied at Yale), English is more limited for others. We are fortunate to have two amazing translators who are really part of our SCC team, and handle translations either simultaneously to us (via headset, continually translating Chinese to English for us to follow along) or they do “sequential” translation of our English into Mandarin Chinese for our clients. That was the approach used in the press conference, for example … We listened to the MC, Mayor Lin and Jennifer Hwang via headset simultaneously; however, when I spoke, I had to learn to pause at an appropriate time to allow our translator to convey my message to the audience in Chinese. The same was true in the press interviews. It’s quite an art form, and our translators are outstanding at ensuring clear understanding and appropriate context — greatly valued members of our team!
And now, Week Two is about to get underway!