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Gérald Bourguignon wondered: <<I am writing, or rather translating from
the original French version, a document that talks about measuring,
inspection and test equipment. Can I write, for example, 'several
equipments' or do I need to write 'several pieces of equipment' ? I
had written the latter because 'equipments' sounded odd to me, but now
I'm wondering if one can use a plural form of 'equipment' in English by
simply adding an 's', as can be done in French.>>
No, in English we say "pieces of equipment", as you chose in your first
translation. I can spot translations by an unskilled translator from a
mile off by the fact that they retain the French plural in this kind of
phrase. Don't get me started... I have a long rant about the quality of
English translation in Quebec by soi-disant (disante? disants? <g>)
traducteurs and traductrices. <g> Clearly you're better than that!
If the context is obviously plural, you can often simplify this and say
only "the equipment", which is verbal shorthand for "all the
equipment", but sometimes it's better to be specific and say "the five
machines" or whatever is necessary to make the meaning clear.
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