Die Übersetzung "Er macht zwei Bestellungen." klingt in deutschen Ohren schrecklich und plump. Richtige Übersetzungen für "He makes two orders" sind beispielsweise: "Er gibt zwei Bestellungen auf.", "Er bestellt zwei Mal."
Die Übersetzung "Er macht zwei Bestellungen." kann im Deutschen auch als "Er bearbeitet zwei Bestellungen." verstanden werden. Dies würde im Englischen vermutlich mit "He processes two orders." zu übersetzen sein. "Martin macht gerade die zwei Bestellungen, die gestern Abend noch herein gekommen sind und ich mache die Reklamation von heute früh." so könnte sich ein kurzer informeller und mündlicher Statusbericht an den Chef anhören.
In what sense is "make" in this sentence? Does it mean he places two orders, or that he fulfills them?
It's neither very clear, nor a good example. More common would be 'Er gibt zwei Bestellungen auf' (places two orders). Less common and depending on the context would be your 'fulfilling'. If he was working at a warehouse, he might handle or complete two orders. 'to place' is more likely anyway. Fun fact: Searching for 'Bestellung machen' on Google, each hit on the first page links to a dictionary, not actual usage. I wouldn't consider it decent German.
I am an native English speaker and "make" makes much more sense to me, I'd only say place if there was going to be a long time before the order was delivered. I would never place an order in a restaurant. If I placed an order, I'd expect to return another day to receive it (eg. I placed an order for a new car).
Very interesting... what English do you speak, UK or US? So if the waiter asks you about that order, would he/she ask; "Have you placed an order for mains yet, sir/madam" or would they ask; Have you made an order for mains yet..."?
To be honest, I think both of those sound a bit weird. The waiter would more likely ask "have you ordered dessert yet, sir/madam?" in such situations.
In which case "bookings" should also be accepted. And you can make a booking, or reservation.
"He places two orders" means he orders twice:
First order: "I want two hamburgers."
Second order: "I want three bags of chips and a can of cola."
It does not mean that you ordered two things at once - but that you separated the two orders, probably paying for each separately.
Or could he be a commercial buyer, ordering widgets from one company and thingummies from another?
Sure, he could be ordering from two different companies or shops. I'm guessing that Kelnerspung's confusion comes from the verb "places," which is common in this context but a little different from the usual usage. Am I right?
The verb to place sounds counterintuitive to me, if I would say it, it would be "he does" or "he makes" two orders. And, still, maybe one of these two choices is pretty absurd, or even them both are. Are they?
This is one of those times when language isn't entirely logical or intuitive.
The most common phrasing, in the US, is to "place" an order. I'm sure of that, because in my company we receive orders from all over the US by phone, and what people almost always say is "I'd like to place an order."
"He does two orders" or "he makes two orders" would not be understood.
[Native US English speaker]
Apparently there are regional differences, but "order" or "place an order" are the only forms I've encountered myself in this context - and I've lived in various parts of the country and do business across the country.
Apparently there is a legal context for "make an order," but that involves a court order, rather than a commercial transaction.
Here's a page that might be useful: https://forum.unilang.org/viewtopic.php?t=34208