Members of the Brewers’ clubhouse crew have a new tool to communicate with Japanese pitcher Takashi Saito and some of the Spanish-speaking players in camp. They installed the Google Translate app on their iPhones and have been testing it this week.
It works pretty well.
“It does, although it translates things into a very formal way of speaking,” said Kosuke Inaji, the translator for Japanese import Takashi Saito. “It’s as if you would be speaking to the President. But it’s correct — it gets the point across.”
Veteran club employees Phil Rozewicz and Jason Shawger demonstrated the program to a reporter. Rozewicz spoke into his phone: “Can I help you with anything today?” The app repeated the phrase in Japanese.
For the more complex conversations, Brewers employees and reporters will turn to Inaji, 24, who also served as Saito’s translator last season in Atlanta. Inaji was born in Japan and crew up in Orange County, California, and has put grad school on hold to spend a few years in the big leagues. Saito’s contract calls for the Brewers to hire a translator, so Inaji is technically a club employee.
Saito has picked up some English during his five years in the Major Leagues and has been meeting his teammates over the past few days. He said he picked the Brewers over offers from other teams partly because of the earlier acquisitions of starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.