Apart from starting with the letter ‘P’, that is where all similarities between paraphrasing and proofreading end. Almost like a rewrite, paraphrasing needs a special talent and a knack of conveying the same message across but in a different way. Ask any proofreader and they will tell you that paraphrasing is one of the least favourite forms of writing.

So what is paraphrasing actually? Basically rewording a sentence, not too much till it loses its initial meaning, but not too little that the original sentence is still visible. Usually, one would seek for this service to minimize the Similarity Index in order for a document to be acceptable for submission. A good paraphraser would look up to read the journal in order to fully understand the topic before proceeding. A great one would be able to twist the words with artistry talent that one would not even recognize the original sentence. 

Paraphrasing can be fun because it allows the paraphraser the opportunity to play with words. Armed with a thesaurus, the article would be read, re-read and digested before any work can be commenced. The experience is worthwhile, especially if one receives feedback saying that the article is accepted and published. Suddenly, the paraphraser feels he is on top of the world, being part of the research team and had contributed to its success.

But not all paraphrasing jobs end happily. Horror stories of picky customers who expect the moon and the stars come up from time to time. But this is part of a day’s work. There was once when a customer who wanted a re-write the whole document, and had the cheek to forward the articles he had referenced to. It was right there and then when it was proven that he had copied exactly word for word of the text in the journals. Needless to say he was charged with the moon too. Certainly, it was no walk in the park. A technical paper, with jargons which required a dictionary to understand, the article was paraphrased well and eventually got the message that the article got published. Thank God for that.

There is always a dispute between paraphraser and client on the service charges. Proofreading is a straightforward editing work. The client had written an article, the proofreader only needs to check on the grammar, sentence structure and overall flow of the paper. This is not the case for paraphrasing. Creativity and gift of the gab is essential in order to produce a high quality article. Like a masterful craftsman repainting a picture, a paraphraser would then mold the sentence into a new one, without losing its meaning, telling the same tale differently.

To proofreaders who have not much experience paraphrasing, you should take up this as a challenge and find yourself lost in the realm of storytelling, push yourself to find new words and enrich your vocabulary and feel the rush of satisfaction when you see your words come to life. You will not feel disappointed. To clients, just pay up and watch a master storyteller twist your words and create magic.