Multilingual security help!
March 17, 2013 2:56 PM   Subscribe

Please help me translate the phrase, "Something that you bought at another store has not been cleared. I can fix that for you. Thank you."

I work at a store that sees a lot of customers carrying in items (books, CDs, clothing) with those little magnetic strips that other stores often don't zap on their degausser. During the summer, many of these customers are tourists who speak little or no English, and me being the store's resident polyglot (or at least brave enough to try), it falls to me to try and get the message across.

Will you help me translate the phrase? The main point is that it's often an errant magnetic strip that I can fix with my demagnetizer. That's a bit tricky for Google Translate to understand. :)

Thanks for your help!
posted by wintersonata9 to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
Oh, and we already have French and Spanish. Thanks!
posted by wintersonata9 at 2:56 PM on March 17, 2013

Iets dat u in een andere winkel gekocht hebt laat ons alarm afgaan. Ik kan dat voor u verhelpen. Dank u wel!

Not very literally, as Dutch has no good equivalent for 'cleared'. But I doubt you'll need this one a lot anyway. Most Dutch people speak fairly good English.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:27 PM on March 17, 2013

"Something that you bought at another store has not been cleared."

The problem isn't in translation. The problem is this phrase. Rephrase this to "There is a problem with [an item/something] from another store" and translation should become much easier.

In general your approach should be how to phrase the problem simply and translate it from there.
posted by deanc at 3:29 PM on March 17, 2013 [6 favorites]

"There is a problem with [an item/something] from another store"

I wonder if "The alarm has gone off because of a problem with [an item/something] you bought at another store" mightn't be even more helpful.
posted by yoink at 3:35 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'll be honest, I only speak (and have only ever spoken) English and worked in retail a ton and I would have no idea what this sentence meant without thinking about pretty actively: "Something that you bought at another store has not been cleared."

So yeah, another vote for a rephrase. I vote for yoink's statement.
posted by magnetsphere at 4:15 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


C'e una problema con qualcosa che lei ha comprato ad un altro negozio. Uno momento e risolvo la problema. Grazie.

There is a problem with something that you bought at another store. One moment and I will fix the problem. Thank you.
posted by bq at 5:08 PM on March 17, 2013

I also feel you need to change "has not been cleared" to some other phrasing that people here can understand better.
posted by Dansaman at 8:48 PM on March 17, 2013

re: rewording - That's exactly the kind of thing I need to know! To me it makes complete sense but I've been working there and saying it for so long that I haven't given it a second thought.

Thanks, all.
posted by wintersonata9 at 12:18 AM on March 18, 2013

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