MLB just announced the Spanish-language translator program, a joint effort by the Players Association and the league office. Effectively it states that every team must have a full-time Latin translator for 2016.
Most teams do designate a translator for Spanish-speaking players, but it’s usually another player who is bilingual, a member of the training staff or someone else in the front office. The new program will ensure there is one person designated as the team’s translator.
While having those part-time translators around is helpful, it’s not perfect. New York Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran spoke out against the lack of Spanish translators in 2014, after Michael Pineda spoke to reporters without a translator following his ejection for using pine tar. In March, the league said it was working with the Players Association in order to add more translators.
Considering that such a large portion of the league is made up of Spanish-speakers, it only makes sense that this move is being made. One can only wonder what took them so long. It’s not clear if the new rule specifies a specific translator must be hired, or if teams are allowed to continuing using other staff or even players to fill this role. However the rule does require that one person be specified, so I imaging that MLB will be able to easily track that sort of information and hopefully ensure that the role is being filled appropriately.