A guy at work often farted loudly. His coworker couldn’t stand it, and said, “Could you be quiet?” The coworker then saw him shaking incessantly in his seat and asked what he was doing. He replied, “I’ve turned on vibrate!”
放响屁, fang xiang pi- to fart loudly
忍不住, ren bu zhu- to not be able to stand something
出声, chu sheng, to make a sound
抖, dou, to shake
调成, tiao cheng, to switch to, to change to (here, “turned on”)
振动, zhen dong, vibrate
Walking down a city street, walking up the stairwell of every apartment building more than a few months old, you can see stickers and stamps reading “办证刻章” all over. “Ban zheng” means to process documentation, and “ke zhang” means to carve an official stamp or seal.
Such stamps and stickers advertise the illegal services of producing fake documentation such as licenses, student IDs, certifications, diplomas, and so forth. They also produce seals and stamps that are supposed to be the official marks of businesses on things like receipts and contracts.
There are all sorts of not so nice reasons that people have such documents produced. But there are some relatively harmless reasons as well. Especially in areas with schools, some people will have fake student IDs produced so that they can get good prices at local businesses and restaurants that offer discounts to students.
In ten thousand years, when looking at some strange numbers on a wall of ruins, will archeologists be able to figure out what a “documentation processing” number is?
一万年后, yi wan nian hou- “in ten thousand years”
废墟, fei xu- ruins
考古学家, kao gu xue jia- archeologist
办证, ban zheng- “document processing” (producer of counterfeit licenses, certificates, ID cards, etc.)
From 7:00 to 7:30 PM, the vast majority of channels nationwide in China broadcast the exact same news program. The foreigner, not knowing this, assumes his TV is actually not switching channels, but the Chinese neighbor knows this is not the case, and he will once again be able to see a variety of programming come 7:30.
A foreigner had just moved in next door to this guy. One night, the foreigner knocked on the guy’s door to ask for help. He said, “My TV is broken. I can’t change the channel.” The guy glanced down at his watch and calmly said, “It’ll be better after 7:30.”
哥们, ge men(r)- a guy
隔壁, ge bi- next door
老外, lao wai- a foreigner
敲门, qiao men- to knock on a door
求助, qiu zhu- to ask for help
换台, huan tai- to change the channel
看一眼, kan yi yan- to glance, to sneak a look
表, biao- watch
镇定, zhen ding- calm
The only thing to note about this joke is that it’s almost certainly not originally a Chinese joke. I’m pretty sure I’ve encountered it on the web elsewhere before seeing it on the Chinese internet, and chances are that our protagonist, Little Qiang, was originally Little Johnny or something to that effect.
Little Qiang’s mother taught him the six steps of how to pee:
1. undo pants
2. pull down pants
3. pull foreskin back
5. pull foreskin forward
6. re-button pants
One day, the mother passed by the bathroom and heard Little Qiang saying, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.” She thought she’d done a good job of teaching. The next day, she passed by the bathroom, and heard Little Qiang rapidly shouting, “3-5, 3-5, 3-5…”
撒尿, sa niao- piss, pee
步骤, bu zhuo- step
包皮, bao pi- foreskin
The joke itself doesn’t need any real explanation, but there are some notes about translation. First, the Chinese version of the joke consistently refers to the older woman in the story as “the wife” (妻子) whereas in English, it feels awkward to write “the wife said to the daughter,” so we changed it to “mother” in most cases. The phrase “小女儿的想法更酷” is a little funny too. We can’t write “The daughter’s ideas were cooler.” It doesn’t make sense. This really means, “The daughter had an even better (cooler, more awesome) idea [than what the mother just suggested].”
While a husband was doing government work overseas, his wife and four-year old daughter stayed at home. One day, the daughter said to her mother, “I want a little brother.” Laughing, the mother responded, “Good idea, but don’t you think we should wait for your father to come home?” The daughter had an even cooler idea. “Why can’t we give him a surprise?”
驻海外, zhu hai wai- living overseas
公办 , gong ban- government work
更酷, geng ku- even cooler
惊喜, jing xi- a (pleasant) surprise
The student has studied English language dialogues in textbooks so well that even in a life-or-death situation, the immediate response to “How are you?” is “I’m fine, thank you!” This unfortunate conditioning leads to the student’s demise.