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How much money did Shohei Ohtani's interpreter earn before being fired?

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Attorneys for Major League Baseball star Shohei Ohtani are alleging that his longtime interpreter stole millions from the Los Angeles Dodgers player, despite earning a hefty salary himself. 

Ippei Mizuhara, 39, who has been standing alongside Ohtani for the entirety of 29-year-old phenom's six years in MLB, was paid up to half a million dollars a year to serve as an English translator for the native Japanese speaker, before being fired Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Mizuhara told ESPN he has been paid between $300,000 and $500,000 annually, according to the sports outlet's report

Born in Japan, Mizuhara was raised in Southern California and graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2007. Mizuhara did not immediately respond to CBS MoneyWatch's request for comment on his salary. 

While a new job listing has not been posted, prospective replacements for Mizuhara have already inundated the Dodgers with applications to fill the empty interpreter role, according to The Washington Post

Neither the MLB nor the Dodgers could be reached for comment.

Ippei Mizuhara had worked as Shohei Ohtani's interpreter for the entirety of the superstar's MLB career before being fired.  Getty Images

Interpreters have become increasingly necessary in MLB as teams recruit more players from Japan, who often don't have teammates or coaches they can communicate with in their native tongue. Interpreters can also double as personal assistants, carrying out duties that are unrelated to baseball or action on the field.

"I'm with him all offseason, too. I'm with him 365 days of the year, which I think is different than the other interpreters," Mizuhara once told The Athletic.

When he was employed, Mizuhara was more generously compensated than the average interpreter, including those who work in the hospitality and medical fields. The average pay for interpreters and translators in 2022 was $53,640 per year or $25.79 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Peter Argondizzo, founder of Argo Translation, which provides translation and interpretation services to businesses in a range of industries, told CBS MoneyWatch that it's rare for an interpreter to earn a six-figure salary, and that Mizuhara's arrangement with the Dodgers was atypical. 

"This type of interpretation assignment is a dream job because it is highly compensated and obviously exciting," he said.

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