marcel barang

How not to do business (2)

In English on 11/01/2010 at 7:57 pm


7) wanakam dot com to arthorn | 26/11/2009

Dear Khun Arthorn,

Here are the three Seksan stories, along with an invoice. The whole thing did take two weeks.

I like what you are trying to do very much and would like to help you, as popularising Thai writers abroad is my main motivation too. I have had a measure of success in French but not in English so far (for lack of contacts). So, I am adding to this a list of Thai short stories I have translated, lately for the Bangkok Post, but not only. This list will grow longer when I am through with the 4th book of See Phaendin.

These stories in English are for you to use, free of charge, if you feel like promoting this or that writer abroad.

Of course, you would have to ask for the concerned authors’ permission, but you have mine in so far as the English text is concerned. If there are texts in that list you would like to use, let me know and I’ll email them to you.

Cheers from


PS: I am sending a copy of each story to K Seksan for possible comments and corrections.

PPS: I noticed a couple of misprints in the Thai text, but I’m sure you are already aware of them.

[No answer to this mail. Before I wrote the one below, back from the bank, I called Seksan on his cell phone. He neither took the call nor returned it.]

8) wanakam dot com to arthorn | 8 Jan [2010]

Dear Khun Arthorn,

I just found time today to go to the bank and was shocked to find out that I haven’t received payment from you for my translation of three Seksan short stories I took so much trouble to accommodate you with.

As this mail shows, I send the stories to you on 26 November and should have been paid by or before 26 December as per our agreement.

I must assume this is an oversight on your part. Please tell your accounting department to speed up the payment, and possibly let me know yourself whether you have had any success with foreign publishers and agents yet.

Best wishes for 2010.


9) arthorn to me | [10 Jan] 23:19

Dear Khun Marcel,

I’m sorry if we lack of communication for understanding between us.  On my side, I insist on my email to you that I’ll pay you 30 days after the translations were completed. This means that the day of payment will not  be counted from  the day you had sent first draft of translation to me. The term should  be counted from the day of Khun Seksan approval of cldompletion of his works.

I’ll meet Khun Seksan on Fri 29, this month.  Please believe me that I try to facilitate conclusion of this case as it is my own benefit too, because completion of translated works will help me succeed of selling Thai writer’s rights aboard in the near future.

Hope for your  understanding.

Best regards,


10) wanakam dot com to arthorn | [11 Jan] 00:48

Talok dee khrap[*]


[* Very funny, sir.]

In summary: out of the blue, a publisher insists on urgency for a 22,600-word translation; for the sake of my good friend Seksan, I skip standard procedure (half the agreed fee upfront) and offer the man a generous one-month payment lag time; I do the translation in two weeks, jeopardising my own schedule (consulting the author twice over half a dozen opaque expressions); he then sits on it for two full months, while his author plays possum, and meanwhile considers my (fully edited in English) translation as … a draft.

With such a work philosophy and practice, good luck to your ‘foreign rights department’, Khun Arthorn.

  1. This is very sad. I do hope that in the future you will be treated with more respect. Keep translating!

  2. TIT. This is Thailand. Happy for you to do the work but not happy to pay. I don’t know anyone that does business with Thai companies that doesn’t have a problem with payment. So much so that some of my friends now only provide services for foreign companies operating in Thailand whose payment system is geared up to pay standard invoices on 30-day terms.

  3. Dear Marchael, I have read your posted about your deal with me after three years ago on this day. This is a shame for U, because I had paid all your translation fee without any negotiation and with in due time. (…) I paid all the money that I owed U within suitable and not long term. …
    Best regards, Arthorn Techatada.

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