Manual versus machine paraphrasing
Paraphrasing is an extremely common term among students and academics, especially those studying for a master’s or doctoral degree.
It is perhaps the most effective, or indeed the only, technique that can save them from committing an extremely serious academic offence: plagiarism.
Copying and pasting or lifting material from other sources without adequately rewriting it in a different style and language or without proper attribution can land any PhD or MA student in deep trouble.
Concerned about the spectre of plagiarism, many students – particularly non-native English speakers – resort to companies that provide a paraphrasing/rewriting service.
Manual or machine
Regrettably, one of the most serious problems with many of these paraphrasing services providers is that they use tools and software in rewriting or paraphrasing the text.
The key problem with these machine-based tools is that they do not have a human brain to understand and grasp the actual meaning, soul and spirit of the written text.
The way a machine reads a text is vastly different from the way a human brain does.
What these tools and machines basically do is re-order and re-format sentences and insert some synonyms here and there, but is that what is paraphrasing and rewriting about? Certainly not.
Paraphrasing, etymologically, stems from the Latin and Greek “paraphrasis” – which means “to tell in other words”.
Therefore, paraphrasing, in very plain and simple terms, is to rewrite a text while keeping the same meaning, by rewording and restructuring the text using appropriate synonyms adequately as required.
In order for a text to be paraphrased or rewritten accurately, there must be a full and complete understanding of the original draft that needs to be rewritten or paraphrased.
Without a thorough understanding and grasp of the original meaning in the text that requires paraphrasing, the outcome would very likely be a text that is anything but professionally and accurately paraphrased.
Put a text in a machine and give the same text to a human being, would the level of understanding be the same? Certainly not.
Writing is an art that involves multiple and intricate layers of expressions and meanings. Only a human brain, an alert and professional one, can get to the bottom of the meaning in most cases.
For this reason, it is essential that paraphrasing a text is performed by a human rewriter or paraphraser, if the outcome is to be a professionally and accurately paraphrased text.
Many students go panicking when they put their dissertation or thesis in Turnitin software to find out the similarity rate in their text.
One of the key things that MA and PhD students often get wrong is that they think similarity can be brought down to zero during the paraphrasing process, which is a completely unrealistic expectation, for the reasons we will explain below.
Turnitin is a software that performs a search in millions of papers to identify the similarity between the entered document and any previous written research or study.
While doing this, Turnitin would highlight names of authors, places and organisations; specific terminology; technical expressions; field-specific words; and very common phrases used by writers.
The similarity becomes even higher when the entered thesis or dissertation is highly technical or medical because it will be full of words and terms that cannot be paraphrased or changed because doing so is simply impossible.
For instance, someone, to ensure a zero similarity rate, paraphrased the International Monetary Fund as the World Cash Coffer!!!!
Therefore, while it is the duty of the paraphraser to reduce the similarity to the lowest possible level, it should be understood by PhD and MA students that there will be always be a small percentage of similarity which is widely acceptable by universities, in most cases around 10%.
In highly technical documents, the similarity can be slightly higher.
Have you put your edited or proofread thesis or dissertation in Turnitin and you found a high similarity rate? Need a human paraphraser or rewriter to help you professionally paraphrase the high similarity parts in your academic text?
We, at the Ultimate Proofreader, provide an expert paraphrasing service done manually only by human rewriters.We also provide a specialist essay proofreading service & dissertation proofreading service UK-based.