Lost in Translation

An expert claims we’re not hearing the real Dice-K.

For all the interviews he’s given, Boston (and the rest of the English-speaking world) may be getting a skewed sense of what Daisuke Matsuzaka has to say. The problem, according to author and Japanese-baseball expert Robert Whiting, is that Dice-K’s interpreter, Harvard grad Masa Hoshino, overly refines the star pitcher’s speech. “In Japanese, Matsuzaka sounds like an ordinary player,” Whiting says. But in English, “he sounds like a United Nations diplomat making an address in the General Assembly.” (Hoshino declined to comment.)

Heeding Whiting’s call, we took a few clips of Matsuzaka and Hoshino from postgame press conferences, and had the Japanese retranslated by Andrew Steele, a Japanese instructor at Clark University. As the Sox wrap up their regular season, we figure it’s time to finally hear an unfiltered version of the $52 million pitcher’s words.


April 22; Sox beat Yankees 7-6; Dice-K’s pitching was shaky
Matsuzaka 満足するはずもありません。もう、本来ならば、三点取られて、チームが四点を、四点を、四点を、とり方といいますか、あそこから、やはり、しっかり抑えなきゃいけないと、思うので、次回またニューヨークで、投げますけど、まぁ今日のようなピッチングにならないように、したいと思います。
Hoshino “There’s no way I could be satisfied after initially allowing three runs and then my teammates, through those four consecutive home runs, taking the lead. What I wanted most of all was to hold that lead, and I couldn’t do that. When I get a chance to pitch again in New York next week, it’s something that I will be conscious of and I will do my best not to repeat the problems that I had today.”
Steele “There’s no way I can be satisfied. I gave up three runs, and in a way, after the team got four runs, I knew that I had to take charge and hold the lead. Next time I will be pitching in New York, I will have to make sure that it won’t be like my pitching today.”


May 9; Sox beat Blue Jays 9-3; Dice-K allowed five hits and three walks
Hoshino “I’ve always been confident in my stuff, but I will admit that maybe there were some situations where I was overthinking a little bit. If it appears that I lack confidence on the mound, that might be a problem. But, at the same time, I’m not necessarily going to change my facial expression to try to convey confidence.”
Steele “There hasn’t been a time when I had no confidence in my pitches, but as I said before, one of my bad points today was that there were parts where I was thinking too much. And because this is apparent in my pitches, I know that I have a problem. But it’s not like I am trying to look confident when I am pitching. It’s just that I want it so that my confidence can be communicated to my teammates to settle down and pitch well during the game.”


June 22; Sox beat Padres 2-1; Dice-K started poorly, then improved
Hoshino “Firstly, I tried to get off to a gentle start today, but that clearly didn’t go so well. After getting into the jam, I told myself that maybe one run would be permissible here, and that is how I approached that tight spot.”
Steele “At the beginning, I tried getting into the game quietly, but I failed. When I got myself into a jam, I was pitching with the mentality that having the bases loaded or letting in one run was something that couldn’t be helped.”