Technical Work in Taiwan

Hi all,

There seems to be a continuous demand for technical writing jobs for local computing companies in the various newspapers. Furthermmore, it seems that it is the same companies regularly advertising such positions.

Why is this? Do these jobs have a high turnover of staff? Likewise, has anyone worked in such a job and care to elaborate as to what was involved in terms of pay, conditions etc?


The continual ads are interesting - do they just keep running them 'cause no-one replied - or the newspaper has nothing else to fill the page??

  1. Native English technical writers are scarce
  2. There is a high turnover rate among foreigners
  3. Pay is good but few writers = long work hours
  4. Ads rerun because of poor candidates and above

I thought it was basically because teaching English offers better pay for less hours.


Just don’t go working for Interface Global unless you like getting screwed for all you’ve got and then stabbed in the back.

Please be a bit more specific. How did you get screwed and how did they stab you in the back?

I was thinking of doing some work for these people and they seemed to be on the level.

So this company Interface Global is a supplier of those cheap “made in Taiwan” plastic toys you get back home. The kind your mom didn’t want to buy you coz they always broke after a week.

I did the technical writing sit for 2 years here in Taiwan. Brain-dead work. Of course, I’m getting myself into trouble here since I know a few people who take it very seriously here, and in some companies I know those foreigners that have risen to managment positions over the technical writing. I guess I wouldn’t be including them. Just like with teaching English, you have to be the right kind of person for it, and if you are, your tolerance for substandard companies goes up.

To be specific to the topic. Pay is anywhere between 45K and 75K, depending on the company. Turnover is high because it “is” brain-dead work on the whole and it is that way because employers here pretty much use you up dry. Very little advancement opportunity and after you do tech writing you have to leave and join another company doing something else in order to avoid that pigeon-holing that goes on.

My two cents.

I worked as a technical writer for a certain unnamed massive computer/electronics company in Shijr. I got 47K a month untaxed (long story) and had a pretty chill job. Be prepared to re-write everything you do 200 times since no one seems to know what they want. Play a lot of vids with the sound off or do Flash design (my fave) to kill the boredom. Pop out some English gems now and again, not a bad gig! Also you get to enjoy moments like seeing 1,000s of marketing glossies come back with “Dick On Chip” printed on them instead of “Disk On Chip”!

Originally posted by sandman: Please be a bit more specific. How did you get screwed and how did they (Interface Global) stab you in the back?

I was thinking of doing some work for these people and they seemed to be on the level.

I’m not in the mood to answer your question in detail right now, so I will just invite you to click here to read an article I wrote about them last September. Note I wrote in the article “The new company Trade Winds International is claiming to be a completely separate company from the original Trade Winds Inc. in order to evade debts and shirk responsiblity for unpaid wages, severance payments and pension rights for the original employees.” Now the company has changed its name again, to Interface Global, for the same reason. You have to wonder why a company with a reputation worth having would want to change its name twice in six months.

Thanks for the link. I changed my mind as soon as I found out they were Global Trade Winds whatever.

I saw that is looking for an English technical writer. Their site doesn’t seem to have an English section and not a lot of details in their ad so I’m guessing it’s a freelance position. Anyone know anyone who knows exactly what they’re looking for?

Jennifer… who really does have a lot on her plate already but can’t help but look.

My Taipei Baby
Resources for pregnancy and parenting in Taipei

The Trend site has a list of current vacancies at, but “technical writer” is not one of the jobs listed.

As a long-term professional editor, I can’t help looking at these job ads for “technical writers.”
Usually I avoid replying to the jobs because (as Luke Skywalker might say) “I have a very bad feeling about this.”

OK, so we know which companies to avoid. Are there any good companies that would be worth working for as a (technical) writer?


The ad I was referring to is in the Oriented Jobs board.

My Taipei Baby

The more overloaded we get, the less help
we seem to have… Nothing makes sense in
a big Taiwan company. It seems only the meanest
get promoted to top decision-making positions,
which shows you the cramped and cloyed confinement exemplifying the daily ways and means
of Taiwan’s local business mentality: only the
big pig gets to be a big pig…

Getting to the point: it’s pretty hard to
expect to be hired at fair market prices
for skilled work in Taiwan…

Nevertheless, if you are masochistic and enjoy
crews of gorgeous office girls ganging up on
you with delectable smiles and winsome
teasing - in order for them to help resolve
being hung up by their underdog, unpromotable
places - then by all means, send us your
resume… if you are really keen about working
very very hard and then being really overloaded
with “hidden projects” that are not on the
official schedule and the big boss won’t notice,
and so your extra work will go by unevaluated
and uncredited, then, by all means, send us your
resume… if you enjoy being friendly and are
able to communicate in an easy-going way with
people, no matter how bizarre and unexplained
the bureaucracy grows to appear, then send us
your resume… if you like to fight for your
rights and remind the bosses that everyone is
working well above the official 44 hour weekly
limit set by the government, and thus, you are
willing to submit yourself to a continual trial
(and possible wage garnishing) about whether it
is possible to stare at a computer screen longer
than 8 or 9 hours a day, then send us your
resume… (the others in the company spend most
of their time talking in meetings and over the
phone, and so, have no idea how stressful it IS
to stare at a computer screen ALL day…)
…if you like to learn new things about
technology, by all means, send us a resume…
if you want to understand how hard people can
work for no apparent reason (aside from helping
to enrich the already rich with small bonus
for themselves) by all means, send us your
resume… if you don’t mind not being able
to stand up for yourself and express dis-
satisfaction with the various illiberal
mechanisms, like sign-out cards, which are used
to inhibit your ability to go out for vacations
longer than two days, (at risk of pay garnishing
if you try to be a man) then by all means, send
us your resume ! Don’t worry: if you really
get out of line, we’ll deliberately give you
too many projects and then tell you to finish
them in an impossibly short time AS WELL AS
garnish your wages ! You’ll love it!

Don’t forget, there are some worthwhile plusses:
~ a company swimming pool with two jacuzzis
~ annual parties and bonuses
~ too many pretty girls
~ a convenient cafeteria with okay food
~ a friendly working atmosphere and
a crew of devoted people who are very
tolerant and understanding of the cultural
shocks due to those of use who find
ourselves in the Extreme Minority…

P.S.: tech writing is not all brain dead work,
but to do the cutting and pasting well, you have
to have a naturally ordered logic. For new
job projects, writing a new manual from scratch,
you need be blessed with an intuitive command
for explaining all the details of a given
piece of hardware (or software) in such a way
as your work is exactly neither too long and
over-complicated, nor too sketchy and disorganized.
Mostly, you need to be possessed with a certain
implicit logical device, an inborn ability akin
to real genius for conveying all that is as it
should be: Easy-to-Use. I think a top tech-
writer should also be good at thinking up
superlative pick-up lines; for example: “I’d like to get
your number, that is unless you already have
too many weirdos chasing you, honey…”

just send us your resumes and make sure you
are female, not too old, a red-skin navajo
brood who can play the ukelele upside down
while keeping that big dildo snugly up
your UUUHhhh-huh… that, while whispering delightful desires in the ear of everybody’s
desperation for love and kindness…

[b]We are an EQUAL opportunity ploy![/b]

Hey popo, you wouldn’t happen to work for Acer, would you? When I interviewed there, they were always talking about the “intangible benefits of working for Acer.” This is because the salary was so pathetically low, maybe the lowest in Taiwan.

no, I do not work at acer… I work in
the depths of an inferno. No white man
(but I) has seen it…

I interviewed with Acer too. I loved the intangible benefit of being able to use their gym–for a fee!

OK, you found me out… I worked for Acer in Shijr. The benefits: Enjoying the bizarre Western entries on the cafeteria menu, including but not limited to hamburgers with cucumber and fried egg on them. Riding the Acer double-decker buses in to work every morning (great people-watching). The fact that after a while my shady legal status meant that they gave me a laptop and dialup and made me work from home 4 days a week (boo hoo). It was a unique experience I must say…