Traduction :Des dollars américains
"the American dollars" = "les dollars américains"
Examples from the internet:
In 2005, frequent-flyer miles were worth more than all of the American dollars in circulation.
Free traders, however, point out that the American dollars that go abroad generally come back again.
The American dollars received by the appellant from the shippers represented income from its business operations, and their full value had to be taken into account in determining its income from its business for tax purposes. [sentence from a legal decision]
"the American dollars" = "les dollars américains">yes But "American dollars" = "les dollars américains" in some cases. The 3 examples above use "the American dollars" with a quality for these dollars. It makes it necessary to put "the" before ""American dollars" As a simple subject, wouldn't it be possible to use "American dollars" as a traduction of "les dollars américains" ? Eg. "American dollars are a popular currency both in the United States and around the world"= "Les dollars américains sont une monnaie courante à la fois aux USA et dans le reste du monde."
I agree with you that French sometimes uses the definite article (le, la, les) when English omits it.
Sitesurf provided Duo's perspective, on different page (for the same exercise: American dollars = Des dollars américains): http://tinyurl.com/oc5vbay
In the absence of context, we may consider that the absence of "the" in English means that the meaning is "an undefined number of Am dollars" = "some Am dollars", which both translate to "des dollars américains".
You have to interpret what "American dollars" means, even though there is no context to cling to:
It probably means "an undefined number of American dollars", "some Am dollars", "more than one Am dollar" ie the plural of "one American dollar". In French: "des dollars américains" is the plural of "un dollar américain".
If the sentence were "American dollars are available in coins and bills", it would be a generality (universal truth), in which case, the French would be "les dollars américains sont disponibles en pièces et en billets".
Ok, thanks I think I understand a bit more the "subtility" for a french speaking guy ;-)
J'ai oublié à dire que votre exemple est correcte (generality, universal truth):
"American dollars are a popular currency both in the United States and around the world"= "Les dollars américains sont une monnaie courante à la fois aux USA et dans le reste du monde."