Interesting jobs

To celebrate the doctrine of vocation and as a build up to Labor Day, let us consider Interesting Jobs.   Here is one:  Major league baseball interpreter.

An interpreter’s job can be consuming, from taking phone calls from a confused player in a grocery store aisle to helping a player’s wife get a driver’s license.

“It’s one thing to be bilingual,” says [Kenji] Nimura, who is unique in the major leagues and especially valuable because he’s fluent in English, Japanese and Spanish. “It’s another to be bicultural.”

That’s why the role has grown as quickly as the Asian influence in the majors, where this year’s 12 Japanese players, three Taiwanese and two South Koreans usually are accompanied by an interpreter.

And note that the correct word is interpreter, not translator. Word-for-word substitutions seldom work between English and the Asian languages.

“If I give a direct translation, it will sound vague,” says Nimura, born in Japan but raised in Los Angeles. “I cheat a little. It’s like a scene in Lost in Translation. As long as I get the meaning right.”

Ever wonder why the translated answer often seems much shorter than the original answer?

“American players follow the formula,” Nimura says. “Say what you’re going to say, say it, say what you said. In Japan, they don’t give you an answer until the end.” . . .

Nowhere do the cultural differences show up more than in trying to interpret what goes on in the clubhouse.

The hazing Kuroda received is unheard of in Japan. So are the moments like the day in spring 2009 that Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones wanted to pass a message to new pitcher Kenshin Kawakami.

“Tell him, I said, (expletive)’ ” a grinning Jones said to interpreter Daichi Takasue, then a 21-year-old fresh out of the University of California-Santa Barbara, where he had been trained specifically for moments like this.

Al Ferrer, the former longtime coach at UCSB who now trains and supplies interpreters armed with the knowledge to deal with coaches and game situations, laughs when he remembers Takasue relating the incident.

“He told me, ‘I bowed my head and said Mr. Jones told me to say (expletive)’ ” Ferrer says. “Ragging is not a part of their culture.”

Nor is swearing, something Guillen discovered during one of his colorful clubhouse speeches when Japanese pitcher Shingo Takatsu was on the roster.

“I saw the translator was quiet,” Guillen says. “I’m screaming to him, ‘Make sure you tell him what I say.’ The (interpreter) says, ‘We don’t have those kinds of words in Japan.’ “

via Baseball interpreters bridge gap between players, new culture – USATODAY.com.

What are some other Interesting Jobs?  Do any of you have one?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’m actually getting to do some translation (English-German) in my job as a quality engineer. Like the baseball translators, I’m finding that some concepts don’t translate well–especially with the literary German I was taught in college. For some reason, Goethe didn’t discuss outdoor rated polyester based powder coats. It would have worked perfectly into Werther, I’m sure. :^)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’m actually getting to do some translation (English-German) in my job as a quality engineer. Like the baseball translators, I’m finding that some concepts don’t translate well–especially with the literary German I was taught in college. For some reason, Goethe didn’t discuss outdoor rated polyester based powder coats. It would have worked perfectly into Werther, I’m sure. :^)

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Pastor – to quote Dr. Joel Biermann, I get to be “Absolution Man.” I know being a pastor sounds so pedestrian compared to baseball interpreter but, there is nothing quite like getting to pronounce absolution over a person torn apart by their sin.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Pastor – to quote Dr. Joel Biermann, I get to be “Absolution Man.” I know being a pastor sounds so pedestrian compared to baseball interpreter but, there is nothing quite like getting to pronounce absolution over a person torn apart by their sin.

  • Sharon Philp

    The interesting job I would love to have is ice cream taster for an ice cream manufacturer. I saw it on TV once. Only drawback: they taste and spit it out.
    The interpreter/translator article reminded me of the time our college choir went to Germany. A man in Neuendettelsau gave a lecture to our group about the relationship between the church in Neuendettelsau and the LCMS. The guy doing the interpreting had a job! The lecturer seemed to be giving a doctoral thesis and the interpreter was trying to put it plainly. It was like 10 minutes of lecture, 3 of translation. Still makes me laugh.

  • Sharon Philp

    The interesting job I would love to have is ice cream taster for an ice cream manufacturer. I saw it on TV once. Only drawback: they taste and spit it out.
    The interpreter/translator article reminded me of the time our college choir went to Germany. A man in Neuendettelsau gave a lecture to our group about the relationship between the church in Neuendettelsau and the LCMS. The guy doing the interpreting had a job! The lecturer seemed to be giving a doctoral thesis and the interpreter was trying to put it plainly. It was like 10 minutes of lecture, 3 of translation. Still makes me laugh.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Sharon, go work for Blue Bell Creameries, they let the employees eat all the ice cream they can.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Sharon, go work for Blue Bell Creameries, they let the employees eat all the ice cream they can.

  • Carl Vehse

    Tough gig – Hawai’i Surf Forecaster.

    I wonder how much they pay him (or he pays them :-) ).

  • Carl Vehse

    Tough gig – Hawai’i Surf Forecaster.

    I wonder how much they pay him (or he pays them :-) ).

  • Brenda

    I was in Japan for two years in two different exchange programs. And of couse, heard many words and phrases not all of which were explained to me. so I can’t coroberate that they have no swear wordds…but I sure heard many things that were inflected as if they were swear words. and based on the old movies it would seem every samurai was adept at ‘not’ swearing ;)

    I have my dream job…homemaker/teacher/custom freelance wool spinner … can’t think of anything better!

  • Brenda

    I was in Japan for two years in two different exchange programs. And of couse, heard many words and phrases not all of which were explained to me. so I can’t coroberate that they have no swear wordds…but I sure heard many things that were inflected as if they were swear words. and based on the old movies it would seem every samurai was adept at ‘not’ swearing ;)

    I have my dream job…homemaker/teacher/custom freelance wool spinner … can’t think of anything better!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    i work as an interpreter and translator. many times I had to stop the person I was interpreting and tell them that they did NOT want to say that to another culture. They were grateful.

    translation rather than interpretatation is alot like comparing mortification to acts of love.

    mortification is self discipline. love is acts that improve the lives of others. together….mortification + love = earthly righteousness

    in our old adams, love simply cannot happen without mortification. In the new man (think here christ in the blessed incarnation!) love simply happens. No mortification at all is necessary to produce the exact same love produced by the old adam through mortification.

    come quickly Lord!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    i work as an interpreter and translator. many times I had to stop the person I was interpreting and tell them that they did NOT want to say that to another culture. They were grateful.

    translation rather than interpretatation is alot like comparing mortification to acts of love.

    mortification is self discipline. love is acts that improve the lives of others. together….mortification + love = earthly righteousness

    in our old adams, love simply cannot happen without mortification. In the new man (think here christ in the blessed incarnation!) love simply happens. No mortification at all is necessary to produce the exact same love produced by the old adam through mortification.

    come quickly Lord!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FWS (@7), I appreciate your continued emphasis on sanctification vs. mortification, but I have no idea how you went from the topic at hand to that one.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FWS (@7), I appreciate your continued emphasis on sanctification vs. mortification, but I have no idea how you went from the topic at hand to that one.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    todd @ 8

    vocation is all about death. it is about the deathing of our old adam. gods aim on earth is to produce love.

    I work as an interpreter. I see how my religious mind things that what I need to do is follow some strict rules. in this case word by word translation (mortification),. and then I see th0ugh that not adapting to the situation (consider your station in life according to the ten commandments Luther suggests in preparing for confession), that I am not following Gods will. I need to use those tools of translation to do love. interpretation is about charity.

    As an interpreter and not just a translator, i aim to do love. I aim to enable others to provide a “loaf of daily bread” to each other in communication that is usually about working together to get some useful task done.

    NOT translating some of the things I am told to translate is really really important here.

    I could relate to everything in this article, and this is the lutheran filter I used and that you are hearing that I took away from this post. does that help?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    todd @ 8

    vocation is all about death. it is about the deathing of our old adam. gods aim on earth is to produce love.

    I work as an interpreter. I see how my religious mind things that what I need to do is follow some strict rules. in this case word by word translation (mortification),. and then I see th0ugh that not adapting to the situation (consider your station in life according to the ten commandments Luther suggests in preparing for confession), that I am not following Gods will. I need to use those tools of translation to do love. interpretation is about charity.

    As an interpreter and not just a translator, i aim to do love. I aim to enable others to provide a “loaf of daily bread” to each other in communication that is usually about working together to get some useful task done.

    NOT translating some of the things I am told to translate is really really important here.

    I could relate to everything in this article, and this is the lutheran filter I used and that you are hearing that I took away from this post. does that help?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    todd

    i want to be a righteous person here on earth Todd. My various vocations is precisely and only where I am asked by God to exercise that discipline and do love.

    So any talk of vocation is not at all about sanctification Todd. Sanctification is faith alone in christ. it is complete. The category that covers ANYTHING at all we can do in our bodies is Mortification. This includes church work and what your pastor does every day by the way. nothing here at all in the least way about sanctification then.

    so vocation is about me doing what God wants everyone to do. whether one is christian or pagan. period. luther ” life is mortification”. Tis true. Life is about self disciplining and self restraint so that my old adam does no harm (which alone is not righteousness) and further self-sacrifices by doing acts that are called love and true righteousness specifically BECAUSE they concretely make the life of myself and others better here on earth.

    So I was attempting to explain further how the vocation of interpreter vs that of translator maps to God’s will and purpose in the Vocation of Interpreter.

    hop that helps dear Todd.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    todd

    i want to be a righteous person here on earth Todd. My various vocations is precisely and only where I am asked by God to exercise that discipline and do love.

    So any talk of vocation is not at all about sanctification Todd. Sanctification is faith alone in christ. it is complete. The category that covers ANYTHING at all we can do in our bodies is Mortification. This includes church work and what your pastor does every day by the way. nothing here at all in the least way about sanctification then.

    so vocation is about me doing what God wants everyone to do. whether one is christian or pagan. period. luther ” life is mortification”. Tis true. Life is about self disciplining and self restraint so that my old adam does no harm (which alone is not righteousness) and further self-sacrifices by doing acts that are called love and true righteousness specifically BECAUSE they concretely make the life of myself and others better here on earth.

    So I was attempting to explain further how the vocation of interpreter vs that of translator maps to God’s will and purpose in the Vocation of Interpreter.

    hop that helps dear Todd.

  • NavyMom

    My wonderful “job” has been and still is that of mom to three great kids. Our older two graduated college (Virginia Military Institute and Belhaven Univ.) and are blessed with excellent careers. Our 16 year old begins college in two weeks as a dual enrolled homeschooler. Being a homeschool mom has been a dream come true for me.
    My husband has been in his dream job for 30+ years. He’s a radio newscaster and interviews lots of fascinating people. We are blessed with work and the love of God.

  • NavyMom

    My wonderful “job” has been and still is that of mom to three great kids. Our older two graduated college (Virginia Military Institute and Belhaven Univ.) and are blessed with excellent careers. Our 16 year old begins college in two weeks as a dual enrolled homeschooler. Being a homeschool mom has been a dream come true for me.
    My husband has been in his dream job for 30+ years. He’s a radio newscaster and interviews lots of fascinating people. We are blessed with work and the love of God.

  • Bruce Gee

    I continue to find self employment in furniture making and repairing interesting and satisfying after 32 years of it. I’ve been telling my kids for years that self employment in some form promises the most freedom and creativity of any job. Having grown up with a Dad who worked from home, they’re taking it under advisement.
    I always wanted to be a baseball announcer. Bob Uecker has perhaps the most interesting and enjoyable job I’ve run across.

  • Bruce Gee

    I continue to find self employment in furniture making and repairing interesting and satisfying after 32 years of it. I’ve been telling my kids for years that self employment in some form promises the most freedom and creativity of any job. Having grown up with a Dad who worked from home, they’re taking it under advisement.
    I always wanted to be a baseball announcer. Bob Uecker has perhaps the most interesting and enjoyable job I’ve run across.


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