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I want to instruct a person (using a contactless payment system) to hold the card "longer/more carefully/steadily" in front of a designated area, in case it is removed too early (before the process completes).

In German it's "Bitte halten Sie die Karte laenger vor die gekennzeichnete Fläche"

My current version is "Please hold card steady in front of the designated area", but it sounds wrong. I am not sure if "steady" is the right word in this context.

What would be the best phrase to use?

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Yes, the phrase makes sense. However, you may want to add "the" in front of card so you end up with:

Please hold the card steady in front of the designated area.

Alternatives can be:

  • [Ensure / Make sure] you steadily hold the card [in front of / facing] the designated area.
  • Please place the card securely before the designated area until the [process / transaction] is completed.
  • In order to complete your transaction, hold the card steadily until prompted otherwise.

In any case, yes, steady is an appropriate word to use - it makes sense.

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    Don't use before, though, because it will confuse people. – Matt Ellen Mar 6 '13 at 13:01
  • Yeah, that was more out there... I have removed it. :^) – Felix Weir Mar 6 '13 at 13:27
  • No problem, i used "Ensure you steadily hold the card in front of the designated area" anyway :) – Rev1.0 Mar 6 '13 at 15:36
  • [Ensure / Make sure] you steadily hold the card... sounds like something only a non-native speaker would say. Most native speakers would use steady in nearly every context, rather than steadily, and they wouldn't put either of them before the verb. – FumbleFingers Mar 6 '13 at 17:28
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    @Rev1.0: Your suggested "Please hold card steady in front of the designated area" is absolutely fine. Felix's suggested inclusion of "the" would be fine too, but signs like that usually omit unnecessary words, so I wouldn't bother with it. To be honest, if it's a sign, I would also omit "front of the" as well, but if you're speaking it might sound a bit more natural to include extra verbiage. – FumbleFingers Mar 6 '13 at 19:30

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