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.

Setup

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.”

Setup

May 9; Sox beat Blue Jays 9-3; Dice-K allowed five hits and three walks
Matsuzaka
これまでも自分のボールに対して自信を持たなかったことはないですし。まぁ悪かった原因の一つとして、先ほども言ったように、考えすぎた、考えすぎていたという、部分があったと思います。でも、投げていて、そう見える、ということは自分自身に問題があると思うので、特に、何と言うんですかね。自信があるということを顔に出して投げるつもりはないんですけど、それが周りに伝わるように、まぁしっかりとゲームの中で投げていきたいと思います。
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.”

Setup

June 22; Sox beat Padres 2-1; Dice-K started poorly, then improved
Matsuzaka
まぁ、静かに試合に入っていこうと、思って、失敗しました。そしてピンチを作ってからは、まぁ満塁になってしまったものはしょうがないし、まぁ一点は、しょうがないと、もうそう思って投げていました。
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.”