Yu Darvish’s Translator Explains Baseball in 3 Languages

Grantland profiles Kenji Nimura of the Texas Rangers.

There’s a nice profile on Grantland today about Kenji Nimura, the man who translates for Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish. He’s trilingual, so he speaks Spanish with the team’s Latin American players as well. A little about his background:

The rise of so many non-English-speaking players has led to a growing roster of professional interpreters, none of whom can marshal quite as many resources as Nimura. A cultural chameleon who moved from Japan to the U.S. at age 11, he can translate the profane slang of former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda into the rough-hewn dialect of Nimura’s hometown of Nagoya, joke around with Latin American stars so naturally that they call him paisano, and propose fan-outreach ideas in business vernacular to the team’s front office. Nimura is also a scholar. The right question can send him into reveries about the complex relationship between cultural identity, language, and geography — a result of his own peripatetic life and education. And while hardly anyone grows up dreaming of becoming a professional baseball interpreter, Nimura, because of his biography and passions, seems uncannily suited to the job.

The article also mentions Nimura’s MLB Japanese-language blog, Speaking Baseball, which explains common English slang used by baseball players, like “you bent but didn’t snap” and “ducks on the pond.” Check it out if for no other reason than to see Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis with two handfuls of dead ducks. Then ask Google to translate the blog for you:

It’s literal translation “There are many ducks in the pond,” although, “duck” the example of the “runner” in this case. This means that I represent the status of the bases loaded. Duck’s what birds popular, multiplied by the runner who is on the base and a flock of ducks floating on the pond among the hunting. For example, the term “! Chance Noauto bases loaded, great” is “Ducks on the pond with no outs. What a great opportunity!”.

Have heard because “Sitting duck”. Literally becomes a “duck sitting”, but represents the state of the unprotected. Duck “sitting” are in the pond duck hunting’s of fair game for hunters in full defenseless. In the case of baseball, it is used when the first base runner who was lunching is touched by checking out from the pitcher.