The practice of paraphrasing has become a huge segment in both online writing and the production of writing for academic or scholastic purposes. Even though it is used by many individuals, there is still controversy about whether this practice is legal or not. In brief, paraphrasing is the practice where a written piece of text is rewritten in such a way that it does not resemble the original text, but the content should still share the same message as the words written by the original author. It is along these lines that this article is written.
This is a question that can only be answered with due consideration and thought. The reason being is that it depends on which school of thought you come from.
Language professionals will see that there is no need. This is taken from the point of view that every piece of writing should be the author’s work (as a professional, student, or online author). In their thinking, paraphrasing takes away the authenticity of the writing.
On the other side of the coin, some students and writers use paraphrasing as a way of producing the work of other individuals without reproducing the words of the original authors in a “copy and paste” fashion. In their mind, this is a way of bypassing the danger of committing plagiarism.
The difference and how we approach paraphrasing and plagiarism under the same heading are in itself a mixed bag with many conflicting thoughts. Let us first look at what is meant by plagiarism and then look at it in terms of paraphrasing.
In general, plagiarism is looked upon as copying the work of another author word by word. It is a practice that is unacceptable in the writing world and amongst the language purists. Every piece of writing should be the work of the author, and should not resemble text of the original script. This does not mean that the thoughts of the original author may not be included. The correct way would be to write this in your own words and then to reference the source (author and article) from where the original understanding of the specific point of discussion came from.
When we look at this, one of the main points surrounding plagiarism-free writing is that is must be the original work of the author, without the assistance of any machine or computer. This is where the contentious issue of paraphrasing raises its head.
Paraphrasing can be done manually, meaning that the writer can look at a piece of text and rewrite the words in his or her language without losing the meaning of the original content. In contrast, there are also many paraphrasing tools (software and applications) available today which will take written text and reproduce it in such a way that it does not have the same word structure as the original writing.
Often, paraphrasing can escape the plagiarism radar. However, this practice does not fit the label of plagiarism-free writing. Let us consider this by looking at two aspects.
I have posted this question so that some clarification is possible. The popularity of the paraphrasing as a practice that is popular for a certain group(s) of writers. This is fascinating as the goals and capabilities of these two groups are so different.
As harsh as what it sounds this comes down to the ability to produce acceptable writing or lose contracts and income. Writers who are unable to deliver good quality articles on time will find themselves out of pocket in a short space of time. Ultimately it is this pressure that drives the paraphrasing cause.
I know that this might sound scathing, but in the article writing world, and very often in the case of online writers, there are many such individuals which cannot write great original content. As a result, they often resort to paraphrasing tools that will automatically convert content in a form that does not represent the original text. This is their way of producing content to meet the demands of their clients.
I look at the writers covered by this heading from two points of view. They are either falling behind with the writing schedules or have been asked for a rewrite by their employees. The second category is relevant to the above heading for writers without the necessary ability as well.
It is much easier to find a good piece of work and then simply paraphrase it to meet the requirements of your client. The thought is that this type of behavior will give the edge in producing work to service contracts within the timeframes set by the client.
Manual versus Software-driven paraphrasing
This refers to the practice where a writer will take a piece of text and rewrite it using different words and sentence structure without the assistance of any software or mobile application. As mentioned before, the important issue is that the essence of the writing must not be lost.
Manual paraphrasing still relies on a great amount of effort from the person doing the rewrite. The writer still needs to be aware of maintaining correct sentence structure, spelling, grammar, etc. An excellent rewrite can often pass through as an original piece of work, even though it is the work of another individual produced in a different form. In many cases, this could even escape the eyes of anti-plagiarism software.
This is the easier way of doing paraphrasing, and also comes with some new challenges which will be covered a bit later. In many cases, you simply provide the written text in a format the software can use, and the application will see to the rest. Paraphrasing using technology can be done at a much greater speed than manual paraphrasing.
The Price of Paraphrasing Tools
Software and applications often come at a price. It is quite important to look at this from two perspectives; the physical price and the price related to quality and time.
In the past, there was always a need to spend money on getting a product or piece of software. This playing field has changed a huge deal. You can find paraphrasing products with matching capabilities in the commercial, free, and open-source market. In other words, it is possible to acquire paraphrasing tools to get the job done without having to pay a dime.
Other prices you pay
Paraphrasing can often look like an easy way out when it comes to writing content online. It is extremely important to take cognoscente of the following factors. If not, it is possible to be caught up in a web where less means more. Let me add some perspective.
There are many bits of paraphrasing software that claim to be the ultimate solution. This may be the case, but there are applications and computer programs which will produce output without having the necessary algorithms for checking things like grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc. The result is that the end product is of extremely low quality, and may even be total gibberish. As a result, you can either be left with a bad reputation if the work is delivered without having checked it, or you could spend many hours cleaning up the mess the paraphrasing tool returned as output.
This is a term which you often encounter when writing articles for online clients. The term kind of gives it away. Spinning comes from the spinning of yarn or material. It is possible to get different pieces of clothe from the same piece of equipment. The same goes for writing, or rather paraphrasing.
Spinning is the process where a writer can take one piece of original work and produce two or even more copies of the work simply by using different words and sentence structures. The important thing is that the main message must be the same in each of the articles which are produced.
In the past spinning could take an extremely long time. Today there are many spinning programs available that can do this for you automatically. Just be aware of the pitfalls that were covered under the heading “Other prices you pay”.
Paraphrasing is a growing skill that has been around for a long time. It will always have to stand up to critics from the anti-plagiarism stronghold. What is undeniable is that it does not matter how hard these anti-plagiarism groups oppose, paraphrasing is here to stay.