Any Americans out there have probably heard this lame but funny joke where someone asks what time it is and the other person replies "time for you to get a watch". I've been looking for translations of this, but none of them sound funny or retain the comedic effect. How would I translate and keep the comedic effect?

  • No one can make a lame joke funny in other language. A lame joke by definition is not funny.
    – Tang Ho
    Aug 6, 2017 at 19:23
  • joke based on similarity of 2 idiomatic expressions, search jukuu for "it is time" to see whether analogous play on words possible in C:it is time for you to ...现在是你...的时候了, on the other hand: what time is it? 现在是几点钟?i.e. asking for the time in C does not involve 时候 (similar to languages other than E), maybe in Spanish it might be possible: que hora ?... es hora de ....
    – user6065
    Aug 6, 2017 at 23:44
  • This makes me think of a very interesting joke in Chinese, which a lot of people jokes on in China. A: "现在几点了?"(“what time is it?”) B:"北京时间昨天这个时候?" (According to Beijing time, it's the same time as the time yesterday.) this joke is often applied when person B don't want to tell person A what time it is or he doesn't know the time at all. it's not joking on the point of checking a watch, but time itself.
    – dan
    Aug 7, 2017 at 1:17

2 Answers 2


You have to understand that every language is different.

In English, you ask for "What time is it now?" and you answer with "Time for you to get a watch.".

Now let's translate that to Mandarin, "现在几点了?" and you answer "现在是该你买表的时间了。"

???? What are you even on about ??????

In English, it's funny because you are asking for what time, and you answer with time for you

In Mandarin, there are several way to ask for time, the most common way is "几点了", the joke will be weird because you are asking for 几点了, and you answer with 时间, see how it doesn't make sense?

It would only be funny, if i ask "现在是什么时间?", which people rarely do, and i answer "该你买表的时间了".

So yea, unless people specifically ask for "什么时间" instead of "几点了", then you can answer with "买表的时间", which is still a

lame but funny joke

  • could you help me to understand the implication of this joke? What would be the purpose of the person by saying "time for you to get a watch"? is he just not wanting to tell the time or just try to say a joke itself?
    – dan
    Aug 7, 2017 at 3:08
  • well, obviously the person asking wants to know the time, and the person answering obviously know it as well. He is just trying to be funny by not answering the obvious question, you can say "time for you to go home, time for you to get lunch etc which would still not answer the obvious question...time for you to get a watch is funny because you are obviously missing a watch to tell the time and that is why you are asking "what time is it".
    – Mindless
    Aug 7, 2017 at 3:20
  • If the person, answering that question, pretends to be funny by not answering the obvious question--what time is, the joke I posted in the comment following OP's question, will serve the same purpose--they don't want to tell the answer by saying "北京时间昨天这个时候?"
    – dan
    Aug 7, 2017 at 4:29
  • Yes, exactly, but "time for a watch" has another level, because you actually need a watch to see the time. "北京时间昨天这个时候" is similar, but it's just aweful as a joke...
    – Mindless
    Aug 7, 2017 at 4:52





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