Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) are helping to make the internet more multilingual.
A new study by EURid and Unesco has looked at this issue and the factors behind the growth. Called the EURid-Unesco World report on Internationalised Domain Names deployment 2012, it seeks to build on the IDNs – State of Play investigation from 2011.
In recent years, more coverage has been given to the potential usage of IDNs – domain names made up of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Cyrillic or Greek – and this is helping to encourage uptake. While functionality and user experience is still in its infancy, at least 3.5 million registrations have taken place in the past two years.
The Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea were picked out as two countries that have embraced IDNs so far – indeed, these two nations are responsible for around one million registrations.
Assistant director-general for communication and information at Unesco Janis Karklins said: “The introduction of IDNs at country level was a very positive development towards fostering multilingualism in cyberspace and providing new opportunities to access information for those who do not use the Latin script in their language. Unesco is working with various partners to turn this opportunity to the advantage of people around the world.”
Marc Van Wesemael, EURid’s general manager, noted it is the second year running that investigations have been carried out to determine the “status of online multilingualism and the uptake of IDNs”.
He added that 23 different European languages are now supported under the .eu domain, which highlights the importance of the relationship between local language and geographical location.
The study found there is a significant correlation between IDNs and local content. Moving forward, IDNs are going to play a key role when it comes to online multilingualism growth.
Indeed, a report by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development has found that worldwide updates of IDNs are currently lagging because web users cannot access a consistent experience.
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