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History is Made as Non-Latin-Script Domains Go Live

"Arabic Language" in the Arabic Al-B...
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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced that for the first time in the history of the Internet, non-Latin characters are being used for top-level Web addresses. This development is widely seen by experts as the biggest change to the way the Internet works since its creation about 40 years ago. The decision to allow the first Internationalised Domain Name country-code top-level domains (IDN ccTLDs) to appear online is as a result of earlier agreements made at its annual meeting in Seoul, South Korea on 30 October 2009, to begin Fast Track Processing.

At present, requests in the Fast Track Process stands at 21 spanning 11 languages which include Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Sinhalese, Tamil and Thai. Consequently, Internet users now have the option of typing Web addresses or domain names in non-Latin texts from around the World.

So far reactions have been mixed. While some believe that the Internet will now become more global and accessible to non-English speakers, others believe the Internet will lose its International feel as Websites will become even more localised to their languages and community.

Meanwhile, ICANN has warned users that the IDNs may not work on all computers immediately. This is because users may have to update their computer software with additional language packs and fonts in order to view the domains.

Talking Point

Which side of the divide do you belong? Will the Internationalised domain names make Internet browsing easier and more understandable for speakers of other languages or will it create a divide, make access to International information difficult and cause confusion?

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  2. UK Webmaster Forum

    May 11, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Interesting… This new comes as Nominet, the UK domain naming authority is considering extending the extensions that could be registered within the UK domain name space including two character domain name.

  3. Domain name registration

    May 11, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    It is a welcome development, I am one of the people that believe in the globalization and accessible of internet to the non-English speakers countries.

  4. Darin Cunningham

    August 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    This tend to create confusion, definitely. However, I think it’s just right. Let’s try to put ourselves in their shoes, say the Chinese. It’s their right to have domains in their own language. To alleviate confusion, I’m sure they will come up with ways on how to translate languages on their website or probably offer an option to view the site and the domain in latin script. This works for their site’s advantage anyway.

    • Admin

      August 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      Surely. It also increases the potential of reaching out to a wider audience.

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