Since we’ve got our addresses down, on to envelopes! In Taiwan, there are two ways to write the address on the envelope: the more traditional, vertical, way or the more Western-style horizontal way (all depends on the type of envelope you have and how ambitious you are).
In this post, I’ll be taking a look at how to address a vertical style envelope in Taiwan!
Let’s take a look at how this is done from the official Post Office in Taiwan’s website:
The post office actually provides some helpful instructions on how to address the envelope in the vertical fashion:
收件人姓名書於中央，地址書於右側，郵遞區號以阿拉伯數字端正書於右上角紅框格內。 寄件人地址、姓名書於左下側，郵遞區號以阿拉伯數字書於左下角紅框格內。 郵票貼於左上角。
Breaking this down, we take the name of the person receiving the letter (收件人姓名 [ shōujiànrén xìngmíng ]) and write it in the middle, with the address (地址 [ dìzhǐ ]) written on the right. The postal code (郵遞區號 [ yóudìqūhào ] ) is written in the red blocks (紅框格 [hóngkuànggé]) on the upper right in Arabic numerals (阿拉伯數字 [Ālābóshùzì]).
The address and name of the sender (寄件人 [ jìjiànrén ] 地址、姓名) is written along the bottom left, with the zip code put in the red blocks on the bottom.
The stamp (郵票 [ yóupiào ]) is placed on the upper left.
Notice the use of 啟 (to open [ qǐ ]) under the recipient’s name and 緘 (to close; to seal [ jiān ]) under the sender’s name. It is now more common to see 收 [ shōu ] for “to” and 寄 [ jì ] “from” instead of 啟 and 緘.
The 式樣 (style [ shìyàng ]) of a vertical envelope looks like this:
So addressing a letter isn’t actually terribly difficult once you get the system down. Great practice, and I love writing envelopes in the vertical fashion just for that extra cultural experience. Also good for showing how incredibly wavy my writing is without a line guide. Next up we’ll take a look at how to address a horizontal envelope!
Some useful vocabulary from this post:
收件人 (recipient; to [ shōujiànrén ])
寄件人 (sender [ jìjiànrén ])
姓名 (name and surname [ xìngmíng ])
P.S. Vertical envelope in Chinese is 直式信封:
直式 [ zhíshì ]: vertical style
信封 [ xìnfēng ]: envelope