Another discovery at the recent book show was that the Taiwan Church Press has issued three editions of Streams in the Desert: one in a Mandarin translation in Chinese characters, one in a Taiwanese translation in a mixed orthography (mainly Chinese characters, with some romanization), and one in Taiwanese completely in romanization.
Streams in the Desert, a book of devotionals, was written in English by Lettie Cowman, better known as “Mrs. Charles E. Cowman.” Her husband was the founder of the Oriental Missionary Society, which today goes by the name of OMS International. The Cowmans did missionary work in Japan in the early twentieth century.
A representative of the press told me that for every ten copies of the Mandarin version, the company sells two or three of the mixed-script Taiwanese version and one copy of the fully romanized Taiwanese edition.
The fully romanized version sells mainly to people who want to learn Taiwanese rather than those who already speak it, he told me. Its recent publication was an experiment, he added. But I forgot to ask the obvious: Does the press consider the experiment a success?
(from left to right: mixed-script Taiwanese, Mandarin in Chinese characters, and fully romanized Taiwanese)