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The sentence in question (line 7-8) それをヒントに井上さんは演奏だけが履いている「8ジューク」という機会を作り、1971年にレストランや喫茶店に貸し出す会社を始めた。

First, my attempt at translation: "??? Inoue constructed a device which was called '8 Juke', which only contained the musical performance, and in 1971, he started a business which rented out to restaurants and cafés."

The main issue lies with それをヒントに井上さんは. I feel like something was ommitted which would otherwise explicitely connect それをヒントに and 井上さん but I can't really extrapolate it on my own. This is also because I struggle with this に after ヒント. I have no idea which verb (I think it probably will be a verb) could follow it here.

marked as duplicate by naruto, macraf, Chocolate, Blavius, 永劫回帰 Sep 3 '17 at 19:19

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There are instances where Japanese use pronoun word blocks to pertain to something already stated in an earlier sentence to avoid word repetition, thus the use of それを in line 7.

それをヒントに is equally directed to

「ある日、店の客の一人が...音の高さや速さをその人に合わせて録音してあげたら、とても喜んでくれた。」

So translating それをヒントに to something that will work as a pronoun or replacement for the stated sentence above will be appropriate.

For example:

The encounter/said event/happening served as an inspiration for Mr. Inoue to create...

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