Archive for the ‘mother’ Tag
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
This joke doesn’t seem funny in English at all, and after thinking about it for quite a while, I’m not sure there is any way to both properly translate it while keeping it funny. Translating it any way that allows the reader to quickly understand also cuts down the humor simply because nobody likes having a joke spelled out for them (which is also why our explanatory posts are rarely funny).
Getting back to the joke itself, all you have to keep in mind is that the 药 in 老鼠药, on its own is usually translated as “medicine”. The child, not knowing that 老鼠药 is actually rat poison, assumes that the mother is trying to cure the rat of some disease by giving it this “medicine”.
Child: Mommy, what is that?
Mother: That’s rat poison.
Child: Mommy, is our house’s rat sick?
老鼠药, lao shu yao- rat poison
生病, sheng bing- to get sick