Translation:Please take a look.
I typed in "Please look a bit", since that is supposed to be the actual, literal, translation. But “一下” is just used to seem less imposing while making a request more of a request and less of a statement. Is there even an English equivalent? I'm guessing it's because of this that my answer was incorrect.
Hmm, I wonder. "请看一下。 " = Please take a look, or Please have a look. But "Please look" might be a slightly different connotation in Chinese, more like "请你看" almost like "你看! 你看!"
In general, these kinds of phrases have a very amorphous and fluid translation in english, and need to have a lot of accepted translations programmed in.
Yes, it can be heard when a waiter gives you a menu.
Another situation is, a shop owner notices that a costumer comes into his store, so he says: "请看一下。" and let the customer think about what he wants.
I have an issue with the word 'Take' in this context. What are you literally taking? Definition: verb (used with object), took, taken, taking. to get into one's hold or possession by voluntary action to hold, grasp, or grip to get into one's hands, possession, control, etc., by force or artifice
Read, browse, peruse - alternative.
"take a look" is a very common English expression. You are not literally taking or grasping anything in the physical sense. I suppose that what you are taking is your view of the thing being looked at, but really it is just another meaning of the verb "to take" in idiomatic English.
The expression suggests a casual or cursory viewing at the whim of the viewer and so softens what would otherwise be the more impolite imperative "look at X!"