Translation:Many men have lost their life at sea.
No, this is the correct way to say it in Spanish. Spanish uses the singular or plural relative to each individual in the group. Each man has only one life to lose, so it is "su vida".
If you were talking about something where each man had lost more than one, such as keys, then the plural would be appropriate. E.g.
"Muchos hombres han perdido sus llaves en algún momento."
There is a great example of this in the song "Princesas" by Pereza. The line goes "no quiero volver a hablar de princesas que buscan tipos que coleccionar a los pies de su cama..."
It means I don't want to talk any more about princesses who look for guys to collect at the foot of their beds. In Spanish, pies is plural because the bed has multiple feet but su cama is singular because every person has only one bed.
I don't agree with the English here - the proper and best answer should be "their lives" (or possibly "his life", though I don't prefer it). By using "their life" the sentence is implying one life collectively held by all.
The only caveat to this is the modern use of "their" to express the singular non-gender possessive pronoun that English lacks. But this workaround that English has more recently adopted is unnecessary here, since the subject is "Muchos hombres", and therefore it seems not legitimate to me to use the workaround.
Furthermore, "their life" implies that the singular case is acceptable here, as with "his life", and I don't prefer this.
The Spanish uses life singular because each man only has one life to use but in English the same rule does not necessarily apply. It is more usual to use lives plural in English especially as many lives were lost, not just one collective life that all the men shared. Ergo the translation lives is correct and should be accepted
It's interesting that DuoLingo's business is using crowdsourcing to translate documents, Web sites, etc. into different languages, but DuoLingo has apparently never used its own users to crowdsource proper translation of the translations we are forced to deal with here.
Thanks for chipping in. It's grammatically correct English to say "Many...have lost their lives", and it's not rigid nor inflexible to insist upon it. Many... have lost their life" in English is illogical and simply wrong. It sounds silly, as it should when it's not correct.
At the following site, about the middle of the page, are some sample translations from English to Spanish using the term "lives" ("vidas"). Probably there are some regional differences in common usage, as well as some literary flexibility.
I don’t get why “Many people have lost their life at sea” isn’t accepted. Gente or personas would’ve been my pick going the other direction, but Spanish tends to use the plural for the masculine form to refer to groups of men and women quite often so I don’t think it’d be wrong to interpret this as such
The word "hombres" can only refer to men. There are other words in Spanish where the plural masculine form can refer to a mixed group, but in the case of the word "hombres," it only refers to men because there's no feminine form of the word "hombre." "Mujer" is a completely different word. In other cases, like using the word "tíos" to refer to both aunts and uncles, it works because the masculine and feminine version are just two different versions of the same word.
Many men, sailors, people, migrants etc have lost their lives is correct idiomatic English. Spanish, French etc assume that each has one life so use the singular. The English translation cannot slavishly follow the format of the Spanish. Yet I have to be 'wrong' and step out of line to be 'correct'.