In an interview with David Letterman, Carter passed along an anecdote of a translation problem in Japan. Carter was speaking at a business lunch in Tokyo, where he decided to open his speech with a brief joke.
He told the joke, then waited for the translator to announce the Japanese version. Even though the story was quite short, Carter was surprised by how quickly the interpreter was able to re-tell it. Even more impressive was the reaction from the crowd. Carter thought the story was cute, but not outright hilarious, yet the crowd broke right up. Carter was very flattered.
After the speech, Carter wanted to meet the translator to ask him how he told the joke. Perhaps there is better way to tell the joke?
When Carter asked how the joke had been told in Japanese, the translator responded, “I told them, ‘President Carter has told a very funny joke. Please laugh now.'”