Multilingual Internet reviewed by EURid and UNESCO

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Brussels, 6 November 2012 – The growth of multilingualism on the Internet and the factors that contribute to it are tracked and analysed in a new report issued today by the .eu registry EURid and UNESCO. The "EURid-UNESCO World report on Internationalised Domain Names deployment 2012" follows last year’s study "IDNs - State of Play".

Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) are an essential building block for creating a truly multilingual Internet. The issue of IDNs has received more attention within the international community in recent years, making this report a vital contribution to the development of IDN usage around the world. Functionality and user experience for IDNs remain in their infancy. However, it is notable that within two years of IDNs becoming available at least 3.5 million registrations have already been carried out. Countries that have embraced IDNs at the top level include the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea, which together have seen approximately 1 million registrations so far.

The new report, based on a 2011 study by EURid and UNESCO, found that there was a significant correlation between IDNs and local content. Using data drawn from 90% of the world’s top-level domains (TLDs) and case studies from Egypt, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the EURid-UNESCO report offers an essential insight into the current state of IDN usage in these countries. It addresses deployment experiences and reviews the linkages between local languages and IDN uptake. The report highlights elements which enhance the "IDN readiness" in a particular country or region.

"The introduction of internationalised domain names 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," stated the Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information at UNESCO, Janis Karklins.

"This is the second year running in which EURid and UNESCO have collaborated to investigate the status of online multilingualism and the uptake of IDNs," said EURid’s General Manager, Marc Van Wesemael. "The scripts of the 23 European Union languages are supported under .eu and therefore, we see the relationship between local language and geographical location in the IDN registration patterns and understand its importance."

At IGF in Baku The EURid-UNESCO report will be presented to the Internet community during the workshop number 126 which takes place on 6 November 2012 at 2.30pm (local time) during the 7th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Also online The report "EURid-UNESCO World report on Internationalised Domain Names deployment 2012", as well as the one published in 2011, is available for download at link.eurid.eu/insights. They form part of the .eu Insights report series, which is based on surveys, studies and research conducted by EURid, in cooperation with industry experts and sector leaders.