Write the Docs: Teresa Talbot – Technically Communicating Internationally

I’m at Write the Docs today in Portland and will be post­ing notes from ses­sions through­out the day. These are all posted right after a talk fin­ishes so they’re rough around the edges.

Teresa continued afternoon sessions by talking about the why and how of working abroad. She’s been a technical writer for about 20 years and spent 7 of those years working outside of the United States.

There’s a strong demand for technical writers outside of the US. This is largely because English is the most-spoken second language in the world. Lots of tech companies abroad wanted English-speaking technical communicators. Teresa has even worked for companies in the UK because they sought a US-specific technical translator.

The first route to working abroad is to have a company sponsor. This is what allowed Teresa to work and live in Holland. While this gives you certain benefits like state-run healthcare and whatnot it also more directly submits you to the more unique aspects of that country’s tax and employment laws.

Another route is to work as a contracting American for an international company. Teresa did this for a translation company working in Japan. Since Teresa was billing from a US social security number she didn’t need a work permit which made things more convenient.

You can also start a company abroad. Teresa did this in Bulgaria and while she had a business license she never did get a residency permit.

Overall Teresa’s talk dove in to lots of the nitty gritty in working abroad. Not the best content for notes but I noted what I could. 🙂