Why It’s Important To Study a Foreign Language To Be Sustainable

As you know, we are inches away from obtaining our certificate of occupancy. We have a few niggling details to work through, and we will be good to go. One of these minor details has to do with the computerized controls for our heating and cooling system. As you may recall, we have solar panels connected to large water storage tanks, and pex tubing coming from those tanks runs under our floors, providing radiant heating and cooling. Our back-up is an Altherma heat pump. All of this runs on programming that is currently being tested. Yesterday I heard from Jeff, one of our heating and cooling specialists, that he has finally figured out why we can’t seem to get the cooling programming to work. Apparently the heating/cooling board that Mitsubishi sent wasn’t really a heating/cooling board at all — it was just a heating board. He discovered this after repeated attempts to get the board to respond to cooling commands and getting nothing. How could this happen?

He surmises it was a language issue. Native Japanese speakers usually send the appropriate parts to customers, and Mitsubishi is finding that there are a number of errors similar to ours because something was ‘lost in translation.’ Now the company is beginning to hire more Americans who speak Japanese to help, and they’re finding that the situation is somewhat alleviating. In the meantime, we have another wait until we get the right board into our system.

So, folks, the lesson here is clear: Pay attention in language class! We need you in order to continue our sustainability work. And, who knows, you might get a job in an industry that you would never have expected.

Finally, an apology from me: Sumimasen. Watashi no nihongo ta totemo wauri desu. (My sincere apologies! My Japanese is very bad.)

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