As we've discussed more than once (e.g. "The billion-dollar conjunction", 12/30/2015), sometimes it's not clear how to interpret the choice between and and or, even when a lot depends on the answer. Adding to the list of such examples, R.A. sends in an example where English and has been translated as French ou.
This seems to be a matter of random stylistic preference rather than a difference between the languages, in that the English version might have chosen or, and (or?) the French version might have chosen et, without changing the intended interpretation in either case. But at the same time, either choice in either language might perversely be given an unintended interpretation. Lawyers beware…
The context is promotional labeling on the box containing a ResQLink™ personal locator beacon.
The English version of the heading calls the device
The ultimate survival gear for boaters, outdoor enthusiasts, and pilots
The French version calls it
Le nec plus ultra en équipement de survie pour plaisanciers, randonneurs ou pilotes
The intended interpretation of the English and is distributive: the device is pitched as the ultimate survival gear for members of each of the three groups taken separately. The perverse misinterpretation would insist that it is the ultimate survival gear only for individuals who happen to belong to all three categories, or perhaps for groups including members of all three categories.
The English blurb could have used or instead, as in the French version — "The ultimate survival gear for boaters, outdoor enthusiasts, or pilots" — and again, the intended interpretation would be that the device is the ultimate survival gear for any member of any of the three categories. The perverse misinterpretation would insist that the predicate applies to one of the three categories, but not necessarily to the others: "Guess which and win a prize!"
The issue is a silly one in this context — but questions of a similar sort can have have serious consequences in the interpretation of laws, regulations, and contracts. In the case we discussed a couple of months ago, the disputed document contained a clause that we can paraphrase as "The conditions for termination of this contract are A, B, and C". And approximately a billion dollars depends on whether all three alternatives are required, even though they're to some extent mutually inconsistent.