My journey to South Korea began in September 2014, when my husband started working for a large semiconductor manufacturer based in Suwon, South Korea. Prior to moving to South Korea, I had been working as a technical writer in India for 5 years. It was important for me to maintain momentum in my career and at the same time it has always been my dream to work in another country. So, I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and turned to the Internet to research about the culture, employment opportunities, and the cost of living in South Korea.
During my research, I came across an article titled “Technical communication in Korea: The challenge of gaining industry awareness” by Ms. Kim Yangsook, the CEO of HansemEUG. The article’s content interested me professionally so I contacted Ms. Kim to express my interest and suggest how I could add value as a foreign technical writer. I received a positive response and was invited to meet her and other senior staff soon after I arrived in Suwon. A couple of interviews later, I was offered a position as a Technical Writer working alongside the professionals at HansemEUG. Yay! Serendipity – I was on my way to achieving my dream.
Despite South Korea having high demand for technical writing services, awareness of the industry is relatively low. It is the opposite in India where for over a decade there has been exponential growth in technical writing. India now has the largest number of technical writers globally. My experience is based on an experienced technical writing community and I plan to share it. But it is not all one way and I have learned new skills here too.
HansemEUG has been developing user content for more than 25 years. They specialize in user manual development, UX design and evaluation, and localization. Also, it develops and sells data conversion solutions for Adobe InDesign Markup Language (IDML) to HyperText Markup Language (HTML) file conversions. These specialties provide interesting and engaging work and connect me to HansemEUG’s client network that includes a leading global manufacturer in the mobile communication industry.
Now that I have been working at HansemEUG for some time, I have learned that this is a company with vast experience and opportunities in developing user content for consumer products. I am a team member in one of the two manual development teams in the company. We develop manuals for system processing and industrial machinery. The other manual team focuses on manuals for consumer products. My job has great variety, I have been exposed to a large global network, the latest tools, and international standards in technical writing. In addition to performing the normal technical writing tasks, I also test and evaluate content related software. A particularly interesting evaluation involved a CMS tool which helped to finalize the company’s selection of the tool. Generally, I am gaining experience developing content for a variety of products.
In March 2015, I traveled with the CEO to Bangalore to “tcworld 2015”. Ms. Kim spoke about the Technical Writing Industry in South Korea and I shared my experiences working as a Technical Writer in South Korea. The conference was a fantastic opportunity to showcase our work and network with industry colleagues.
I read that Korean companies typically work long hours and that it is an accepted part of the work culture. To a certain extent, HansemEUG adopts this culture when there are tight deadlines just like any other professional workplace. It has been easy for me to settle into my new job even as a non-Korean employee. The managers are very understanding of language limitations and make sure that I feel comfortable.
My Korean colleagues are very encouraging and polite. If there is a mistake or a misunderstanding, the focus is on learning from the mistake. I am treated as part of the team and my colleagues are very supportive and help me to communicate with clients and locate information. The standard of written and spoken English is very high because most content is developed in English and is later translated into other languages including Korean.
It is not all hard work. HansemEUG rewards good work through team outings and regular lunches and dinners. These have been great ways to get to know the local culture and my colleagues better.
The opportunity to live and work Korea has lived up to my dreams. I am looking forward to learning about lots of new things and having fun at the same time.