"El reloj no tiene batería."
Translation:The clock does not have a battery.
You would need to say either, "The watch has no battery" or "The watch does not have a battery."
How do you tell the difference when "reloj" means both watch and clock?
Probably because of the word tener; somebody posted this somewhere else, you can check it http://spanish.about.com/od/adjectives/a/indefinite.htm
I just want to make sure I got this straight. Because of the nature 'tener', the article isn't necessary. But whenever 'tener' is used in this way, it will always infer singular, yes? In other words, "The clock does not have batteries" is wrong, because that's not what is implied?
Here in Venezuela they would never say batería for the battery in a watch for a wall clock. They would say pila. In Spanish a distinction is made between the little batteries that are disposable, and big batteries like what goes in a car. You would never interchange those words. You wouldn't say that the car needs a pila and you wouldn't say that the watch needs a batería. If you said that they would figure out what you mean, like the time a friend of mine at a restaurant asked for an "arepa con hueso" a sandwich with bone instead of "una arepa con queso" a sandwich with cheese. The waiter didn't even flinch or question the order, he just brought a sandwich with cheese.
It's more like an option. You could have it in three ways, either by saying 'una', or using the definite article 'la' or yet leaving them aside. Common usage has it with no articles. Think of it as a translation for 'my watch has no batteries', you don't use the article here as well.
I am confused. Does the sentence (in Spanish) mean that the clock/watch does not have a physical battery, or that it needs to be charged because the battery is empty (like with a smart watch)?
In the second case, I would translate it to English as 'The clock does not have battery' - which has been marked as wrong, and the other people in the comments have confirmed that it is wrong, but I am still not sure why.
If the second meaning does not apply, then what is the correct way to say in Spanish that the battery is empty (in Romanian I would just translate the Spanish sentence word by word) ?
If, on the other hand, the construction 'The clock does not have battery' is wrong in English, have I just been using a wrong expression for years without having the slightest idea?
If you are kind of a word nerd, check out this page for a list of 17 Spanish words that end in -j:
Apparently the etymology of "reloj" is a little murky, but it is sometimes said to come from the Greek "horologion" (something like "hour listing").
Native Arab here... I don't think that's correct. I can't think of any Arabic word even remotely resembling that. Do you know what it is?? The Spanish word for chess is 'ajedrez' (acc. to Google Translate), and I can't map that out into Arabic as well. I'm not an expert, though.
The tense you're using is the present perfect, but the one in the sentence is present simple. The meaning is close enough but the syntax is off. The sentence is correct in English (as far as I know), it just doesn't translate accurately to the original sentence. I'm assuming there is a present perfect in Spanish, so you would need to match the tense either way.
Spanish does not use the indefinite article as mush as English does. So even though it is not present in the Spanish sentence, in this instance it is required for the English translation to be grammatically correct.
Here are a couple useful links about this: