I have a Russian sentence:

Общая производительность мясной отрасли компании превышает 400 тонн в сутки.

Which, put literally, translates into

In total, the company's meat sector produces more than 400 tonnes per day.

But it feels to me like in English a company cannot have a sector, and it's better to use meat-production branch or something like this. It feels like in English a meat sector can only be part of an economony.

Am I right, or maybe not, and a company can have a "sector" to itself? The Russian company in question is a big regional (south of Russia) corporation with many facitilies, some of which produce meat and meat products.

  • Good question, how about meat department? – Cardinal Feb 23 at 17:04
  • Or meat division or meat branch. – stangdon Feb 23 at 17:09
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    companies have divisions or units or departments, not sectors. As a former corporate writer, I can attest to that, if you choose to believe me....companies can also have subsidiaries and branches specializing in some product or service.... – Lambie Feb 23 at 17:30
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    A company can have a branch, but usually, that means a part of the company in a particular location and does not refer to the product or service. So, ABC Corporation is based in Denver, CO and makes electronics and has a branch in South Bend, IN. This also goes for UK companies. ( I'm leaving this discussion as I will not fight the currents when I've swum in these waters for so long....). – Lambie Feb 23 at 17:55
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    @FumbleFingers, probably somewhere there is a company that divides itself up into "sectors", but "divisions", "groups", "business units", "product lines", and "departments" are all vastly more common IME. – The Photon Feb 23 at 18:49

Yes, "sector" can indeed be used in the way you describe; i.e. as some sub-division within a company. Here is an example concerning Motorola's former Semiconductor Products Sector.

In fact, strictly speaking, Motorola SPS wasn't even "within" the company, Motorola, because there was not (and still isn't) a single corporate entity called "Motorola". Rather, the sector referred to a set of parts of a group of (very tightly connected) companies spread across different countries -- Motorola, Inc., Motorola GmbH, etc. So in that particular usage, "sector" was more of a trans-corporations term.

As far as I am aware, "sector" has no specific legal meaning, which is in contrast with words like "branch" which can (but doesn't always) mean something more or less precise in legal terms. But as you can see from that article, lack of a formal legal definition doesn't mean it can't be used by the company or others.

Finally: it's probably not a coincidence that in choosing the word "sector", Motorola chose a word more commonly used, as you mention, to describe a portion of an industry as a whole.

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