explanation for "Can we go to the line for less than 15 items?"
Thread poster: Techamba

Techamba  Identity Verified
Ethiopia
Local time: 20:10
Member (2013)
English to Amharic
+ ...
Jun 23, 2013

Hi dears,

In a document I am translating, I found the following text:

Have your child count the items in the grocery cart — ‘Can we go to the line for less than 15 items?’



The Parent is required to ask a question to his/her child in a grocery store "Can we go to the line for less than 15 items?"

But what does "Can we go to the line for less than 15 items" means here?

Thank you in advance.

Yibeltal B.

[Edited at 2013-06-23 14:43 GMT]


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:10
Italian to English
Explanation Jun 23, 2013

Hi Yibeltal

In supermarkets, there are often check-out tills for people who only want to buy a few items, which saves them from waiting a long time behind people with trolley-fulls of goods.

In UK English, we would say "Can we join the 15 items or less queue?" (although "less" should really be "fewer").

HTH


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:10
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
15 items or fewer Jun 23, 2013

Grocery stores in the United States usually have two types of check-out lines. One type for customers who have lots of groceries and another for those who have fewer items (so they can get in and out of the line faster - if you only have a few items, you do not have to wait behind people who have full grocery carts).

The signs generally say something like "10 items or less". Although some stores use the more grammatically correct "10 items or fewer", most people do not seem to know the difference.

In your text, the woman wants her girl to count up the items in their cart in order to determine whether or not they can enter the line for "15 items or fewer".

yibebiz wrote:

Hi dears,

In a document I am translating, I found the following text:

Have your child count the items in the grocery cart — ‘Can we go to the line for less than 15 items?’



The Parent is required to ask a question to his/her child in a grocery store "Can we go to the line for less than 15 items?"

But what does "Can we go to the line for less than 15 items" means here?

Thank you in advance.

Yibeltal B.

[Edited at 2013-06-23 14:43 GMT]


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Techamba  Identity Verified
Ethiopia
Local time: 20:10
Member (2013)
English to Amharic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jun 23, 2013

Thank you for the quick reply. I understand it now.

All the bests,


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 19:10
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Glad that you now understand clearly Jun 23, 2013

Dear Yibeltal,

Our colleagues gave you good explanations, but they didn't point out that you really should have asked this question in another part of the site.

Next time you need some help, go to: http://www.proz.com/ask/

Posting here again might lead to people missing your enquiry, although I'm glad to see you had swift responses this time (the first answer was in British English and the second in US English so you had double confirmation!).

Best wishes

Noni Gilbert


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:10
Italian to English
KudoZ Jun 23, 2013

Dear Noni

You are quite right to draw Yibeltal's attention to the KudoZ section of the site.

Unfortunately, only four site users have ever responded to questions in the English to Amharic pair in the history of ProZ.com and I took the view that it was unlikely, in any case, that Amharic speakers would be able to help Yibeltal with the cultural interpretation of this distinctly idiomatic question.


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 19:10
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
@ Russell Jun 23, 2013

That was indeed thoughtful of you.

I should however have clarified that what he needed to ask for was English-English - this pair seems to produce plenty of resposnes, and I have it included in my filter.

Keep up the good work!

V best wishes

Noni


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:10
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
KudoZ can be still used for explanations Jun 23, 2013

if questions are asked in monolingual pairs (En-En in this case).

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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:10
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
KudoZ-EN>MT or vice versa Jun 24, 2013

I agree with the explanation given as many supermarkets have cashier points for people who do have to pay for many items.
I thought it was strange that it was allowed to be put here at first but can now understand why as nobody bothers to answer if I post anything, asking for EN>MT or MT>EN. I also saw that those who CAN answer do not have any KudoZ. points at all-only 1 has.Probably, they do not need them as they have enough work going. So I do not bother asking at all. Good day to all.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:10
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
While on the subject of grocery store queues... Jun 24, 2013

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

Grocery stores in the United States usually have two types of check-out lines. One type for customers who have lots of groceries and another for those who have fewer items (so they can get in and out of the line faster - if you only have a few items, you do not have to wait behind people who have full grocery carts).

The signs generally say something like "10 items or less". Although some stores use the more grammatically correct "10 items or fewer", most people do not seem to know the difference.

In your text, the woman wants her girl to count up the items in their cart in order to determine whether or not they can enter the line for "15 items or fewer".


In my experience, it's hardly every beneficial to use that queue, because it seems populated exclusively by people who have exactly 15 items or very close to it, whereas in the regular queues, you have a chance of catching a spot behind someone with just 1 or 2 two items... and then often watching in helpless exasperation as they just happen to need multiple price checks, or fumble through several different means of payment, while the fellow in the next lane who seems to be stocking up on enough supplies to ride out the coming zombie invasion is zipping through. You just can't win the "guess the best queue" game!
My theory is that shoppers who initially anticipate using the fast lane will try to maximize the marginal return on their expenditure of shopping effort by getting as close to 15 items as they possibly can.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:10
Hebrew to English
Agree with Rudolf Jun 25, 2013

It's always Sod's Law with supermarket queues. Even when I head over to the self-serve machines, I can guarantee something will go wrong! Usually:

Automated woman: "please place the item in the bag"

put item in bag, machine thinks it should weight more so.....a few seconds later....

Automated woman: "please wait for a supervisor"

Gggr!


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:10
Italian to English
Moderator's note Jun 25, 2013

A gentle reminder that this is a translators' not a shoppers' forum!

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