People who plagiarize don’t want to be caught. Obviously. But how far do some people go to outsmart a plagiarism detection software? Is it worth the effort? Actually it isn’t too difficult to defeat the algorithm of most plagiarism softwares. A simple Google search results in multiple articles that explain how the usage of Latin, Greek or Cyrillic letters can be one of the simplest solutions to enable plagiarized text passages to go undetected. PlagScan has now implemented a new feature that will detect this supposedly clever trick.
But what exactly does it mean to use different letters?
Some letters in foreign languages have similar-looking letters to, for instance, the Latin one. In this case, a plagiarism detection software won’t be able to match the text with the original source because technically the words are not the same anymore. Especially some cyrillic letters look identical to Latin ones.
For example, take a look at the following letters:
In Latin: e – a – o
In Cyrillic: е – а – о
It is impossible to tell a difference with your bare eyes. On the other hand, for a plagiarism scanner, these cyrillic letters will represent completely different letters and it won’t detect the plagiarism. Writers can easily use the “find and replace” function in every common writing software and replace letters with similar looking characters of other languages.
How does PlagScan detect the trick?
PlagScan now detects different characters. If a text is supposed to be written in Latin letters but contains Cyrillic ones, PlagScan will show a warning notification. It also works the other way around: For example, if a user is supposed to write in Cyrillic and substitutes characters with latin letters, the system will alert the administrator of the detection. With this new feature, PlagScan is one of just a few plagiarism scanners that can’t be fooled with the substitution of foreign characters.
The software appoints the standard language as language base, accepting all common alphabetical letters and characters in its scanning process. As soon as the software detects characters that are uncommonly used in the user’s standard language, the notification above will appear. This way, PlagScan manages to outsmart cheaters who try to fool the software.