Bilingual Plagiarism in the Academic World

Bilingual Plagiarism in the Academic World

Carmel McNaught (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong) and David M. Kennedy (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-867-3.ch020


This chapter is an essay about a new ethical problem that has become apparent to us in recent years. Bilingual plagiarism is the act of passing off the work of others (in particular, the writing of others) as one’s own and disguising the plagiarism by intentionally translating the work into another language without giving due attribution to the original author. In an increasingly connected and multilingual world where access to vast amounts of text is relatively easy, bilingual plagiarism may well be an increasing phenomenon. It is undoubtedly difficult to detect. In the chapter we analyze the drivers facilitating, and mitigating against, this new (?) phenomenon. We offer an old-fashioned solution, that of reinforcing the values on which the modern university is founded.
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The Multilingual Internet

The world is increasingly globalized. One of the consequences of globalization is that information flow across linguistic and cultural boundaries is increasing. The statistics (Year 2004) in Table 1 show that, while English may currently dominate, this may not be a long-term phenomenon. Undoubtedly, a 2008 snapshot would show marked changes.

Table 1.
Global Internet statistics by language (adapted from Global Reach, 2004)
LanguageInternet access (M)Percentage of population onlinePopulation online
(est. in M)
Total population (M)
European languages
All Asian languages240.633.0263N/A

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