English that's probably been translated from Japanese or that's just odd

I ended up at the website of Zoom, a Japanese company that makes sound gear. The Japanese version of the site is interesting, of course, but what's even more interesting is the English version.

The writing is a little stilted. It's not just wordy, but seems rigid, so I've concluded that it's probably been translated from Japanese. At least some of the site has probably been translated, because going from Japanese to English is VERY hard and sometimes people get so caught up in translating, they forget to check if the English sounds natural, not Japanese-Englishy (yes, that "y" at the end was intentional).

On one part of the Zoom site, they have this odd sentence that I had to read twice because I wasn't sure why they used the word "some" in front of "engineers":

The company was so named by a group of founding some engineers who chose "Zoom" for the simple reason that it would stand out in an alphabetical listing by starting with the letter "Z."

Another odd thing I noticed is that one of the links on the right and the title of the page say "The Zoom History". Usually an English site would say "Zoom's History" or "The History of Zoom" ie, there would be no "the" at the beginning. The difference between "the" and "a", and the correct use of articles, are hard for non-native speakers to figure out, which is another sign that the site wasn't at least checked by a native speaker.

There are also either typos, as in "Nearly all of Zoom products..." (there has to be a possessive there) or lack of plurals. On the FAQ page, they say "Common Question"--but there is more than one! So obviously it should be "questions". And what about the top navigation area? One of the buttons says "Product", as in "We only offer one product". English sites would probably never keep it singular unless they were literally offering just ONE product.

There are plenty of native English speakers in Japan who know how to write English well, and Japanese companies usually have the money to hire good English copywriters and editors (as opposed to companies in poorer countries that just plop a non-native English speaker in front of a computer and tell them to translate or write the English themselves because it's a lot cheaper than hiring a foreigner who would definitely do it a lot better). It's just too bad that they don't make sure their English looks good.

But at least they had the incredible talent to create both an English and Japanese site--that's hard to build!

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