Non-English speaking Dopers: does the "my dog has no nose, how does it smell? Awful" joke work....

… In your language?

Seems to work in Spanish:

I guess it would work well in languages where the same word is used for the verb and the noun.

The idea for this thread came from watching the Spanish dubbing of the “28 Days Later” DVD. In the original English track, one of the characters says a joke that’s a play on words:

“Hey you can’t leave that lying there!” The man says, “It’s not a lion, it’s a giraffe”

They tranlated it to Spanish literally! They didn’t bother to even try to make it a joke. Obviously it’s not the same thing as the “nose” joke because they’re using a word that sounds simlar to another one.

Anyways, does it work?

Hindi has different words for each of the different meanings, so it won’t work. It even has different words for “smells good” and “smells bad”.

Japanese has multiple systems of writing. Kanji (Chinese characters) are a hieroglyphic writing system, but the other two are phonetic. Books, comics, and movie subtitles will often write the phonetic pronunciation of words written in kanji above or to the side of the word.

For jokes reliant on something of this sort, generally they’ll translate the line as-is but add furigana above the relevant words to indicate what’s going on. It’s not funny, but at least you get the idea.

And no, smell/smell don’t work in Japanese.

English has “stinks”. Not sure if there’s a “smells good” word.
Spanish has “apesta”. Not sure about a “smells good” word either.

Maybe “fragrant”, but it has a narrow definition.

Works just fine in German

Works in Norwegian.

The joke translates well to french.
“Mon chien n’a pas de nez, comment sent-il? Horrible!”

Works in Greek too:

Ο σκύλος μου δέν έχει μύτη, πώς μυρίζει; Απαίσια!

I don’t think there’s a noun involved anywhere.

“He smells” in English can either mean “He processes scents via his nose” or “He has an odor,” but in both cases, the word “smells” is a verb. It’s not a given that the same word will be used for both verb meanings, but it’s less of a stretch than a noun and a verb having the same spelling.

One of my favorite bad direct translations was on a McDonald’s ad. They were advertising iced coffee, I think, and the English copy was something like “Ice to see you!”

The Spanish was: “Hielo dice hola!” which is basically “Ice says hello!”

Neither is a noun; one is a transitive verb, the other intransitive.

It works in Romanian.

Câinele meu nu are nas.
Şi cum miroase?

It doesn’t work in Russian. The verb “to smell” as in to perceive smells doesn’t really exist in Russian. Well, to be more precise it exists but I’ve never seen it or heard it used – “обонять”. There’s also a verb that means to inhale air with the goal of smelling it – “нюхать”. Both of these are not at all close to the verb which means to “emit a smell” – “пахнуть”.

I wouldn’t use “horrible” for the Spanish, since it’s an adjective and not an adverb. You need an adverb there: “muy mal,” “fatal.”

That doesn’t mean there aren’t places where “horrible” isn’t used as an adverb, just that it sounds strange to me.

You seriously think this joke “works,” even in English? :rolleyes:

When I was a teen I came across Freud’s book about jokes and the subconscious. What amused my friend’s and I was that all the jokes were puns translated from German and made absolutely no sense in English.

Our favorite was “In your haste to write the prescription for the Indian haven’t you made a mistake?”

The German original ‘wie du dem Inder hast verschrieben, in der Hast verschrieben?’

So if someone told a poor joke, one of us would say “in der Hast verschrieben” and we would laugh uproariously while everyone else looked puzzled.

“Quick, call me a taxi!”
“Okay, you’re a taxi!”

No, not terribly funny, but it doesn’t work at all in German. Which made it a goofy inside joke between me and my girlfriend in college as we practiced our high school German on each other. Humor is pretty quirky, it is.

Jokes are, um, easily misconcieved. ESPECIALLY jokes, which cause new columns, columns, and that are more responses more disdainful than many of my own.

Noted: Bros Mark and Ray.

Works in Danish:

“Min hund har ingen næse, hvordan lugter den? Forfærdeligt.”

lugter=to smell, smelling badly