Technology & Science

Web addresses going multilingual

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which is responsible for governing top-level domain names such as .com and .net, has introduced a public test of web addresses in languages not written using the Roman alphabet.

Internet users who don't speak languages that are written usingthe Roman alphabet can now test web addresses in their native tongues.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which is responsible for governing top-level domain names such as .com and .net, has created a test thatallows users to visit web pageswith URLs in11 additional languages.The languages are Arabic, Persian, simplified and traditional Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Yiddish, Japanese and Tamil.

Although the entire content of websites can currently be in one of these languages, they must still use a URL address based on the Roman alphabet.

ICANN said it wants public feedback on how the test pages display and how the addresses appear when they are cut and pasted into e-mail messages.

"Internet users who speak the 11 languages of the test can play a key role in testing how[internationalized domain names]operate, and help us move toward full implementation for all the languages of the world," said ICANN president and chief executive officer Paul Twomey in a release.

ICANN has posted two videos on YouTube that explain the test process. The organization also said the test pages of the respective languages will stay up untilthey graduate tofull public usage.

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