Here’s a wonderfully-phrased question from a reader, which I’d like to put out there for your comments. Our correspondent writes: “As the marketing person at our manufacturing company I get daily emails from many companies in China offering to sell us any number of products. What I find odd is that the written English is atrocious. We’re not talking Bank of Namibia phishing scams. These appear to be bonafide parts manufacturers or suppliers hoping to do business with Western companies.
“The choosing of English phrases is often almost comical. And while I am not fully multi-lingual, I would hope that any attempt on my part to speak another language isn’t as confused as the thousands of emails that many of us receive.
“My question is ‘Why?’ You would think that any company of any worth would hire a fully-talented translator or someone much more fluent in English. Heck, why not just pay someone here a small amount per email message to smooth things over and make them business worthy?
“Maybe by appearing to be not superior to the reader, the author hopes that the reader will think that they have the upper hand, and that this ‘smarter than them’ vision will make the readers think that they can take advantage of the situation and get good products at a steal of a price? I’m beginning to think, given the almost perfect percentage of badly worded emails sent daily, that this ‘playing the fool’ tactic may be the purposeful intent.
“If not, and it is a reliance on readily available translation talent among Chinese students who haven’t had enough real English conversations, then sign me up to be an email corrector. I could keep myself in beer money for quite a while!”
What do you think?