If you’ve ever questioned yourself: “When Using Testimonials of People Should You Quote, Paraphrase or Summarize?” or “How much editing is too much editing?” you’ve come to the perfect place! Therefore, we will go through what these terms mean and how much to push when it comes to editing a testimonial.



Definitions and explanations

Knowing the actual difference between paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting might be a bit complicated to some. We will try to explain how these work and maybe shed some light on this topic.

So what is the difference between paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting? When considering testimonials from previous clients, it might be difficult to know where to draw the line. We understand. The definitions of quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing are as follows:

  • Quotation: is a word-for-word reproduction of a phrase as it appears in its original source.
  • Paraphrasing: explaining a statement by utilizing your own words and sentence structure.
  • Summarizing: clarifies a point in your own words, although it usually condenses a longer statement into a more concise explanation.

What is the difference between summary and paraphrase? The paraphrased content is frequently shorter than the original passage, as it takes a more significant portion of the source and compresses it slightly. Summarizing entails putting the essential points into your own words and only including the most important ones.


When using testimonials of people should you quote paraphrase or summarize?

So the question is when using testimonials of people should you quote paraphrase or summarize? The short answer would be that testimonials and endorsements are frequently paraphrased, and this isn’t always a bad thing. In advertising, efficiency is vital, therefore summarizing a lengthy endorsement is acceptable as long as the intended meaning is not changed.

But when to use quote? When might it be preferable to use direct quotations rather than summarizing or paraphrasing? Well, sometimes you can get these perfect gems of a testimonial. The praise is there, the grammar is there, the length is perfect so why not quote directly? However, sometimes you have to adjust them to have them look better.

People thinking to quote paraphrase or summarize a testimonial
People thinking about quoting, summarising or paraphrasing testimonials

Testimonials should sound genuine and not like a “sale” to stand out as impartial and honest that comes from pleased customers. Furthermore, sincere and high-quality testimonials not only serve to dispel critics’ worries about your business, but they also help to change the minds of prospects who aren’t convinced of its authenticity.

So when should you paraphrase? Regarding testimonials, the Direct Marketing Association’s principles on responsible business activity state that testimonials and endorsements should only be used if they are:

  • genuine
  • authorized by the person quoted
  • related to the experience of the customer providing them
  • not taken out of context to distort the endorser’s opinion or experience with the product

Can you tweak a testimonial quote? Nowhere it states that you aren’t allowed to play with the words, rearrange them, or paraphrase testimonials as long as you don’t change the meaning of the initial message. Quotes, summaries, and paraphrases should be used with caution in a correct manner.


Dos and Don’ts

If a person is hesitant about something (such as a product or a company), but everyone else seems to enjoy it, that person is more likely to give it a try. Although the law requires that they be genuine and not misleading, there are certain guidelines to follow when using testimonials or endorsements.

✅ Correction of any typos or grammatical errors

So when using testimonials of people should you quote paraphrase or summarize? Well, the first step would be to look at the overall syntax and grammar.

It’s okay if your client misspelled a term or used improper grammar. You can edit these issues for your website and marketing to be professional. Furthermore, some clients may expect you to correct their errors.

As an example, if you get a quote that says, “I looooove this product” for example. It’s okay if you fix the spelling so that it says, “I love this product“.

Consider seeing a glowing review or a piece of praise only to discover that the syntax is a disaster, spelling issues, and atrocious grammar. Of course, it would be too much to apply all of these situations at once. However, one or more of these concerns is likely to arise.

You might also think that some marketing experts believe that grammatical flaws and non-standard usage contribute to the testimonies’ authenticity. But, unfortunately, people don’t write in perfect English regularly. As a result, it’s not required to use appropriate English when recreating casual conversation.

Happy customers giving positive feedback
Happy customers giving positive feedback
  • Reworking a testimonial when it’s confusing

Make sure not to change the author’s intent, but if something the client mentioned needs a little additional explanation to make sense, adjust it.

For example, if you asked the customer, “What is your favorite feature of the product?” and they said, “how it saves me a lot of time and resources“, you’d have a winner. It’s okay if you alter this to “My favorite aspect of the product is that it saves me a lot of time and resources“. This is good because the meaning has not been altered.

Consider rewording crucial sentences if a testimonial has strong substance but is confused or poorly written. Make sure you don’t change the meaning or the intent of the person. Furthermore, send the amended testimonial by email to get approved by the client.

  • Bolding, italicizing or underlining parts of a testimonial

Your potential new clients aren’t going to read your entire testimonial section. They simply scan the surface. Therefore it’s a good idea to choose one sentence from each testimonial and bold it.

It’s a great idea to highlight parts of the testimonial in your website or marketing materials by bolding, italicizing or underlining particular sections. It’s ok because it doesn’t change the meaning of the review.

  • Shortening it

It’s great to get lengthy testimonials, but showcasing brief ones is even better. It’s quite ok to edit out sections of the testimonial to make it shorter for use on your website or in marketing materials. But be sure you aren’t changing the meaning of something by eliminating it. 

The majority of testimonials are brief and say nothing more than “you are the greatest” or “I will use your service more frequently.” As a result, it’s not as intriguing so make sure not to shorten it to this extreme either.

Man in charge to quote paraphrase or summarize a testimonial
Man editing a testimonial

So when using testimonials of people should you quote paraphrase or summarize? Well, you can cut a testimonial in half or utilize only a portion of what was submitted like such:

  • “Tinkerbell, my cat, hates the cold. In Autumn, however, she enjoys playing in the leaves. This product worked wonders for her hairballs!”
  • “This product was great for getting rid of her hairballs!”

It’s often okay to remove harmless, uninteresting, and unrelated data. However, everything that directly relates to the business, product, or service should be left alone.

You should keep in mind that some legal departments have had concerns with testimonials that were “cherry-picked.” If it’s followed by something you want to include, don’t remove actual testimonial material that may be less than “great” for the product/service. The testimonial’s purpose should be kept in mind at all times. This, too, can help to establish the testimonial’s legitimacy.

Find the most important one to three points your client has made regarding you and your company to make things more convenient. Remove everything else from the equation. It’s the only way to keep your reader interested and keep reading about how amazing you are. However, even if every single one of those 300 words is complimentary, a three-sentence testimony can be far more impactful than a 300-word testimonial.

  • Reordering sentences

We’ll keep emphasizing the importance of not changing the meaning of what the other person is attempting to express. However, it’s okay to shuffle things about a little if there’s a sentence you’d like to place first or if you’re combining two distinct paragraphs.

You can easily showcase the testimonial, starting with the main idea of the testimonial for the most significant impact.

  • Changing pronouns to names

Imagine you have a longer customer testimonial and want to use only one statement on your sales page. “She helped me deciding what outfit to pick” you could easily edit as “Stacy helped me deciding what outfit to pick” if I wanted to use it as a pull quote. It’s okay to it this way as long as you don’t change the original testimonial’s message.

If the subject of the testimonial is uncertain, you can sometimes substitute confusing pronouns for proper nouns. Typically, these changes are indicated in the text by brackets, as such:

  • It has been amazing!” becomes “[Restaurant] has been amazing!
  • He helped me a lot!” becomes “[Mark] helped me a lot
People choosing to quote paraphrase or summarize a testimonial
People choosing testimonials
  • Testimonials plugins

There are numerous WordPress plugins available to assist you in organizing and publishing testimonials. Do your research on quality, the convenience of use, and security like you would with any plugin. Then pick the one that best suits your needs.

We recommend the Strong Testimonials plugin since you can even test it for free without any hustle!

  • Summarizing and paraphrasing but altering the meaning

Nothing you do should alter the meaning of the testimony. We know you’re smart, and you’re aware that changing something around alters the intent. If you have to change a testimonial heavily before utilizing it, it’s not a good testimonial! Therefore, a good idea would be to get rid of it and find another one more suitable.

Aside from minimal tweaks, you should always be careful not to be so picky with your excerpt. Altering the writer’s/original speaker’s point of view in favor of a perspective they didn’t intend and selecting information for use without understanding context might be troublesome for businesses.

Take this as an example:

  • Last month, I signed up for this subscription. I despise this company! They only do one thing: steal from me. I wish I found out about them before my mistake. Then I’d have something to aim for!
  • Last month, I signed up for a subscription. I wish I had known about [business] sooner.

This fundamentally distorts the quote’s intent and can get you or the company in serious trouble.

Person gathering testimonials to quote paraphrase or summarize them
Person gathering testimonials
  • Enhancing a quote

In the vast majority of circumstances, you should never add any words. It is not acceptable to change “Stacy was fun to work with.” to “Stacy was AMAZING and pleasant to work with.” It’s enhancing what the client said with that augmentation, which changes the meaning.

Asking permission to change the review is a good idea. Therefore, you can ask the clients, “If appropriate, I may also need to make minor modifications to your evaluations above, such as eliminating a line to make it shorter, changing “she” to “Stacy,” correcting grammar, or misspellings, and so on. Is it okay with you if I do this?”

Requesting a testimonial edit as part of the beginning of the conversation simplifies things. Make sure you’re asking if it’s alright to slightly alter on the front end but never go beyond it!


Example of testimonial paraphrasing

So when using testimonials of people should you quote paraphrase or summarize? Let’s take a look at this made-up testimonial based on some poorly edited testimonials found online:

Wow!!!!”Since finishing your course eight months ago, I’ve been on quite a journey building my business to five figures…… I was also asked to speak at the convention, which was packed with my perfect customers!!! I’ve also learned how to locate and communicate with my clients via the internet. Your mentoring helped me see things in a whole new light, instilling in me a new love and passion for my work and life.

I’d still be gnawing my nails and debating whether or not to chuck it all up and return to school if it hadn’t been for you and your professional guidance. You showed me that there’s always a way to make it work, and you assisted me in doing so. I would strongly advise you to any stressed-out and perplexed business owner seeking to clarify their vision and turn it into a reality.” – Tiffany, successful founder of Restaurant-X, Los Angeles, California

Person looking at quoting, paraphrasing or sumarizing testimonials
Person looking at testimonials

Edited version of the testimonial:

“I’ve grown my business to six figures since working with Sarah, received high-profile speaking engagements, and learned how to discover and connect with clients online. I also established methods and processes that boosted my productivity as a result of Sarah’s guidance.

I would strongly advise her to any stressed-out and perplexed business owner who wants to clarify their goal and turn it into a reality.” – Tiffany, successful founder of Restaurant-X, Los Angeles, California

It’ll be easier for your prospects to read—and for you to communicate your message.

This is an obvious example of something you’ll want to run past your customer. They’ll most likely be pleased to discover that you’ve found a method to make the most of it.


Conclusion

So when using testimonials of people should you quote paraphrase or summarize? Well, it’s half-gray area, half-clear enough. It’s also worth noting that the FTC has some flexibility when it comes to enforcement. You don’t want to cross them, just like any other government agency. If testimonials or recommendations on your site cause you any concern, now is the time to reconsider. Furthermore, the most important rule to follow is to make sure that every recommendation and testimonial you publish is genuine.