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Foreign Language-Speaking Clerks Get Special Badges at Narita Airport - Customers Service by 400 Clerks in 11 Languages

Foreign Language-Speaking Clerks Get Special Badges at Narita Airport - Customers Service by 400 Clerks in 11 Languages

The budge design for various languages.

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Since the end of April, retail staff at Narita International Airport in Narita, Chiba Prefecture have been wearing the "I Can Speak a Foreign Language Badge." The badge allows travelers to tell at a glance if a clerk or other personnel who interacts with customers can speak a language other than Japanese or English.

The badges are the work of the airport administration and the Narita International Airport Tenant Liaison Council. Until recently, some stores had made their own badges, but now they have a new, uniform design that all outlets can use. The aim is to improve the quality of customer service for the airport as a whole.

There are 14 types of badges in total. Ten of them are for staff who can speak one of the following languages: Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Malay. Three others are for those who can speak one of the following combinations of two or three languages: Chinese and Korean; Chinese, Korean and Russian; Spanish, French and Swedish. There is also a blank badge to accommodate additional languages in the future.

A survey conducted before the badges were made found that there were roughly 400 retail staff who can speak a foreign language other than English, but until recently only around 30% wore a badge to indicate their linguistic skills during work. One clerk who can speak three languages is reportedly a Japanese person with a strong interest in language study.

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