On a Lighter Side… Translating Jokes..(Pepito is Bilingual Too!)

On a Lighter Side… Translating Jokes..(Pepito is Bilingual Too!)


It’s Friday and wanted to relax a bit!

In Latino culture regardless of nationality, if you did not grow-up hearing a series of Pepito jokes, you might as well have been living under a rock and although  to me not necessarily funny (maybe because I have heard them too much) the character’s sharp tongue and wit makes them all great punchlines.

Pepito a quick tongued, sharp wit little boy that makes every parent blush for his inappropriate questions and irreverent answers is the character that everyone laughs at because he says what everyone is thinking but  nobody would dare say publicly but would like to.

This character although the subject of many silly and childish jokes is also synonymous with Latino culture because Pepito or Jaimito (in other Latin American countries) embodies the problems, the struggles that persist and by using his wise crack persona many social and political truths and critiques can pass as humor; truths that could not possibly be verbalize only through Pepito.  For example: Like all Pepito jokes

Pepito, ¿qué tiempo hace un avión Habana-Cayo Hueso?

—Media hora maestra.

—Muy bien, ¿y un barco?

—Seis horas maestra.

—Muy bien, ¿y a pié si hubiera un puente?

—¡Uhhh!, varios meses maestra.

—¿Cómo?, ¿no te parece exagerado eso?

—No, maestra, ¿usted sabe lo que es ir dando codazos?:

permiso, permiso, permiso.

Chistes de Cuba sobre la revolución pg. 83

English Version

A schoolteacher in Havana asked her class:

“If the sea between Cuba and Miami were to dry up, how long would it take to walk across?”When she got no response, she asked Pepito to give an answer…
After a moment of thought, he said, “Forty days.”
The teacher was naturally surprised.
“Pepito,” she said, “the distance from Havana to Miami is only about ninety miles.
Maybe I didn’t make the question clear.
Pretend that it’s all smooth and level ground.
NOW how long would it take?”
Pepito insisted however on his answer of forty days.
“But why?” asked the teacher.
“Well, because you would constantly have to say,
“`Excuse me,’ `Pardon me please,’ `Excuse me, sir,’ `Pardon me Miss,’ `Excuse me…’

Whomever translated the joke had the same idea but changed the wording a bit. What happened  to the direct translation “if there was a bridge from: It would have been truer to the original …. Anyhow, this one not necessarily funny but it explains the critique through humor.


No comments


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share This