Subject: Russia
From: "Tom Johnson" <johnsont -at- starcutter -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 08:10:02 -0500

I can't quite speak for Russia, but I was in Ukraine two
years ago. I had the hardest time trying to explain what I do
for a living. There was no translation for "technical
writer." If I remember correctly, TW falls into the hands of
the engineers and programmers. STC's Intercom had an article
about TW in Russia just a few months ago. You would benefit
from reading that article.

You might want to be careful what business you get into over
there. If you haven't been following the story, a Russian
programmer was arrested for giving a talk about the
weaknesses of the Adobe Acrobat security features. In the
past week or so he was allowed to leave the country under an
agreement that he would testify against the Russian company
he worked for. I have nothing against the Russians, but they
have a different set of rules over there. What they may
consider a legitimate business in Russia could be considered
a threat to our security. You could end up working on
something that might be disagreeable with most Americans.

Have fun in Russia! My visit to Ukraine was a wonderful
experience. My host families, from the churches I visited,
were extremely gracious and friendly. Outside of that, there
were a few unnerving episodes. In the interest of technical
communication, I'll share one. A small group of us were
walking down a dark street. We were talking in English and
heard footsteps approach us from behind. Once the people
caught up to us, they hung back just a few feet behind us.
That was kind of unusual because we were carrying our bags
and walking slowly. I very quietly said to the other two, "I
don't like these people walking behind us." Immediately, they
passed us and then stopped in front of us. Uh-oh. It turned
out that they had heard me say, "I don't like them" instead
of "I don't like them being behind us." It goes to show how
dangerous it can be to partially understand what someone is
saying. They understood the words, but they didn't understand
the meaning. How often do we do that with our SME's? Andrew
Plato is right, we do need to become experts in the subject matter.

Tom Johnson
231-264-5661 voice
231-264-5663 fax

Work johnsont -at- starcutter -dot- com
Personal tjohnson -at- i2k -dot- com

-----Original Message-----
Harry Thompson wrote

> > Time for the next family move and I'm wondering where my
> > career prospects
> > will fit in (other than becoming a househusband). There is a
> > very strong
> > possibility that I may have to follow my significant other to
> > Moscow at the
> > end of next year for a three-year posting. I'd like to know
> > if any of you
> > have any info on the tech writing possibilities available
> > (obviously I'm not
> > asking to get the crystal ball out here). Although I pick
> up languages
> > quickly and am beginning lessons, I don't speak Russian yet.
> > I've been working in software documentation for the last two
> > years and think
> > it would be a shame to go back to teaching English just
> > because it's the
> > only thing available. I was so happy when I finally got out
> > of it. TEFL work
> > is white slavery in my book and I'd rather coax info out of
> > programmers with
> > a well-placed pain au raisin any day!
> > I appreciate any insights you may have to offer.
> > Harry

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