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A Most Unusual Construction–Kill all the robots!

July 27th, 2010

In the Times, July 27, writing about two new cars:

In the case of leases, the leasing company is eligible to claim the credit. Nissan plans to lease the base model of the Leaf for $349 a month for three years with $1,999 because of delivery. The Volt’s $350-a-month lease is also for three years, with $2,500 due at delivery.

Is this a case of mistranslation?  “$1999 because of deliver”, where obviously, as the next phrase shows, it should be “due at delivery.”  A reasonable computer mistake: ‘due at’ becomes ‘because of’ (think of ‘due to’ and ‘because of’).

Wait–here’s what (I think) happened!  Some Japanese publicist wrote a press release in Japanese, and then used some translation software (google translate?) to convert it to English.  The press release was passed on to a writer at the Times, who used cut-and-paste to fill out the story.  Really sloppy journalism, folks.

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