Internet addresses to be available in other languages

globo-internet_275-4529Since its beginnings, the Internet has been held mainly in the realm of languages that are able to be written in the English alphabet.  Sure, there are plenty of websites available in every language imaginable, but their domain names (or URLs, URIs) have had to be written in anglicised form.  You may not think that this small part of a site has that much impact on users, but for those who are unused to reading or writing English, even transliterations of their own language can be difficult.  Imagine seeing http://语言培训.com and trying to remember it to put into your browser.

So the big news is that the internet regulatory organisation Icann has approved a proposal to allow people to register domain names in non-Latin scripts such as Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.  According to Icann, over half of the 1.6 billion internet users in the world, over half use non-Latin scripts, so this change should have a significant impact on the ease of use of the internet for many people.  It may also mean that there will be many more new users of the internet, as sites become more accessible in their audience’s native languages.

If you are learning a language with a cyrillic or pictorial script, this may represent a new challenge for you!  After International Domain Names (IDNs) are introduced sometime next year, it could make search engine experiences a lot more interesting.  Good luck with finding the information you want in the language you want!

Source: Guardian. Image: aljazeera.net.

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