Sunday, October 28, 2007

Red Sox Win the World Series (With Help from Interpreters)

Today, for the second time in four seasons, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, providing a tremendous source of joy and celebration for millions of fans spanning several generations.

And they did it with a little help from their interpreters.

Yes, professional interpreters are instrumental members of a great number of baseball teams in the United States these days. In fact, it would be difficult for major league teams to even consider contract negotiations with many international athletes without some sort of language assistance.

For example, Daisuke Matsuzaka, starting pitcher for the Red Sox, is constantly accompanied by his interpreter, Harvard graduate Masa Hoshino, who does a wonderful job of enabling fans throughout the United States to hear Matsuzaka's comments in English at major press conferences.

There is no doubt about it. Professional sports teams depend greatly upon communication to execute strategies on and off the field. For this reason, interpreters are key in teams across the nation with increasing linguistic diversity.

Unfortunately, the important role played by interpreters is not always appreciated or understood by all teams in professional baseball. After a collective bargaining agreement in 2002, the Yankees ended up firing various employees, including the interpreter for pitcher Orlando Hernández. (Note: they haven't won a world series since).

While getting rid of dead weight is to be applauded in some cases, interpreters are not a luxury, but a necessity, when it comes to enabling teams to communicate effectively with their non-English-proficient athletes.

Readers can look forward to reading more about interpreting for professional athletes in the forthcoming book, From Our Lips to Your Ears: How Interpreters Are Changing the World.

Special thanks to Boston Globe reporter Gordon Edes for providing a helping hand in putting me in touch with some of these interpreters. His SoxCast is available here.


Red Sox Fan said...

Gooooooo, Red Sox! Some of the fans were so excited, you would think THEY needed interpreters.

Anonymous said...

Hey, as long as the Yankees didn't win, I'm happy! And I'm glad for Dice-K's interpreter, because without him there's no way he would have gelled as well with the team. BOSOX ROX UR SOX IN 08!