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Concerns about Plagiarism

Hey guys,

So I’m currently editing a few projects and one of the books I’m editing, I have concerns about plagiarism. I’m not sure how much is my responsibility in caring about this (I have enough concerns to be posting this, I don’t want to encourage and help someone steal someone else’s work). The buyer sent me the book and noted that it was written by a US ghost writer.

My first bell was the inconsistency in speech. Even the weakest writer, some of the things just strike me as odd. Some of it reads like it was translated to English (which isn’t a problem, but weird because they noted it was a US ghost writer). The second bell was there’s a fair amount of UK english being used. I’m talking small things like “hanging out with your mates.” “Mobilisation” vs "Mobilization. That use of S instead of Z.

Has anyone encountered this? I googled some of the paragraphs in it and nothing came back but it’s just weird. I’m going to run it through some other platforms that check for plagiarism but I thought I’d post and see if it’s just me or if I should be concerned.

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That does sound odd. I’ve never been faced with this, but maybe @vickiespencer has?

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Yeah I don’t know if I’m explaining well what I mean. But like some of the writing is mixed up. They used the phrase “Everything together putting” when it should be “Putting Everything Together” it’s things like that where I can identify a common saying but it’s mixed up which makes it sound like it was translated from another language which doesn’t track with where the author is supposedly from

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Sounds like it wasn’t a US ghostwriter after all, unless they’ve moved there recently.

Many lie about their location because they feel it would get them more orders. In some cases, it does.

Of course, they could have also plagiarized some parts of the work. Or all of it.

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I have worked with many US writers who are not native-born individuals. Perhaps as @catwriter said, they lie about their location, but now that US sellers must fill out the W-9 Tax Form with their SS number, that is less likely.

That sounds like it was either translated by an app or a translator who is not good at translating.

I find that this is more common than you would expect, especially if the writer learned to write UK English and is attempting to write US English.

I frequently get documents that have both straight and curved apostrophes and quotation marks. To me, that means the writer has copy and pasted sentences or phrases from various other places.

Copyscape has a free version to check plagiarism.

Not with a book.

That is a hard one. If you have already done a lot of the work and call it to your buyer’s attention, they may cancel and your work so far would be for naught, and your stats would be affected. :thinking:

On the other hand, it may be that the author has English as a second language and does live in the US. They may have got their ideas from various books they have read and put them together in one new book.

In the end, it is up to you what you do with your concerns. Good luck. :four_leaf_clover:

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Thank you, this was very helpful. I’m sure its a combination of all those things. I haven’t noticed mismatched quotes/apostrophes/etc or anything where it looks like it was maybe copy pasted so that’s good. I’m gonna finish editing it, but maybe just file it in my head that it was weird.

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Sounds more like a bad auto translation from a ghostwriter who lied about being fluent in English and your client either not being fluent enough to notice or not reviewing to make sure it’s accurate.

And re the inconsistency in country usage that’s hard to say. I am Canadian and do copywriting and social media posts for American companies, plus I have a lot of English relatives. So I find I tend to mix up usage sometimes just by force of habit. It could certainly be suspicious to see that in text but not necessarily.

Good on you for being ethical and not wanting to support plagiarism, but there isn’t really enough cause for you to pursue this.

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