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Steps taken to create multilingual internet

Antony Savvas

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Unesco and internet standards body Icann will collaborate on global efforts to forge universal standards towards building a multilingual cyberspace.

The three agencies organised a workshop on the subject at this week's Internet Governance Forum (IGF) taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The partners said multilingualism is a key concept to ensure cultural diversity and participation for all linguistic groups in cyberspace.

There is growing concern that hundreds of local languages may be sidestepped, albeit unintentionally, in the radical expansion of internet communication and information, they said.

"The discussions are going to help Icann to keep moving toward full implementation of Internationalised Domain Names," said Paul Twomey, Icann CEO.

Following the evaluation of Internationalised Domain Names by Icann, internet users around the globe can access wiki pages with the domain name "example.test" in 11 test languages - Arabic, Persian, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Russian, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Yiddish, Japanese and Tamil.

The wikis allow internet users to establish their own sub-pages with their own names in their own language.

The three organisations are also working towards issues covering fonts and character sets, text encoding, language implementations within major computer operating systems, content development tools, automatic translation software, and search engines across languages.





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