Engineering English and the high-tech industry: A case study of an English needs analysis of process integration engineers at a semiconductor manufacturing company in Taiwan

Paul Spence, Gi Zen Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The global high-tech industry is characterized by extreme competitiveness, innovation, and widespread use of English. Consequently, Taiwanese high-tech companies require engineers that are talented in both their engineering and English abilities. In response to the lack of knowledge regarding the English skills needed by engineers in Taiwan's high-tech sector, this paper presents an English needs analysis of process integration engineers (PIEs) at a leading semiconductor manufacturing company. Based on English skills for engineers and professionals in Asia-Pacific countries, online survey-questionnaires and semi-structured interview questions were developed and administered to PIEs. Results show that engineers face numerous English communicative events similar to other Asia-Pacific nations, including highly frequent writing and reading events such as email, reports, and memos, while common oral events include meetings, teleconferences, and presentations. Findings also indicate that the need for English increases in tandem with the engineer's career, with oral skills being in particular demand for customer visits and relationship building. Moreover, considering the scope of the communicative events PIEs face, Taiwanese learning institutions, ESP instructors and course designers should endeavor to include authentic training in specific areas such as genre-specific writing (i.e., email vs. reports vs. memos), CMC communication (i.e., telephony and teleconference), and delivering presentations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-109
Number of pages13
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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