Posted by: patenttranslator | September 20, 2010

Somebody Just Plagiarized My Blog


It’s not a big deal to me. It was not even something I wrote about translation – the article I wrote, a few months ago, was about the translation business, not about translation per se.

The guy used the same music video that I used in my blog and then he finished by paraphrasing the last sentence on my blog, which created an interesting link and harmony with the music video (it worked well on my blog, I thought, but maybe not as well on his blog).

I found out about it when I looked at the blog stats and clicked on the “Referrer” tab. The guy must have found my blog by Googling the subject of my article, and then he used an idea from my blog without attribution! I could give more clues or even post a link here, but I don’t really care. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, plagiarizing is the illegitimate cousin of imitation. I get mad and passionate about issues having to do with human and machine translation, languages and linguistics and such. But this was really about marketing, and when it comes to marketing, I guess everybody steals ideas from everybody else.

When I was in my mid twenties I got a C from my professor of Japanese literature because I used in my essay something (description of an event that occurred in the life of a Japanese writer) that I just copied from a preface in a book without attribution! He got really in my face. The thing is, I did not realize how important it is to always indicate the source. I was in my twenties and I did not really know anything about anything back then. But I must say, I never plagiarized anything after this experience with my professor, God bless his soul.

I have this recurring dream that I am back at my university in Prague, a freshman, and it is so scary because I know that I am not supposed to be there, since I graduated such a long time ago …. or did I? Then I wake up and see the angry face of my professor. He should have explained to me what plagiarizing was before I wrote that damn essay and maybe I would have gotten an A.

But I am glad that he made sure that I understood that copying something without attribution is really, really wrong.

I found several articles about translation that I wrote years ago on the websites of translation agencies without attribution. I e-mailed them and requested a link to my website. Some complied, some ignored me. Apparently, this sort of things happens all the time. I also saw a website for translation of patents in China that is clearly based on the original design of my website, including the wording for functions offered on the website and several graphical design features, such as round buttons placed on the left for accessing different functions. I changed this particular graphical element a year ago. Oh well, it’s a free country, I mean planet. Once you put your ideas on the Internet, they are no longer yours.

But this was the first time that something I created was actually plagiarized in the full meaning of the word.

Maybe I am beginning to have an impact.

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