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Multilingualism online needs boost reports .eu registry

31 May 2011

Brussels, 31 May 2011 – More work is needed to stimulate online multilingualism and the uptake of Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs), according to a new .eu Insights report published today by EURid, the registry for the .eu top-level domain (TLD). The report was prepared in cooperation with UNESCO, United Nations agency promoting multilingualism online.

In the report "Internationalised Domain Names – State of play", 82% of TLD registries surveyed considered the addition of email support to be the single change that would improve the uptake of domain names in non-Latin based scripts. Despite IDNs being available for over ten years, user experience, browser support and domain name registration practices were also cited as barriers that limit multilingualism on the Internet.

"IDNs need to become more accessible to the consumer if the multilingual Internet is to become a reality," said Marc Van Wesemael, General Manager of EURid. “We believe that EU businesses and residents should be able to easily use their own languages and alphabets online, which is why we implemented IDNs for .eu in all official EU languages.”

Mr Van Wesemael continues, "As the registry for the European top-level domain, we encourage online multilingualism and have a strong wish for the .eu extension to be written as Greek and Cyrillic characters in addition to today's Latin .eu. We participate in various IDN working groups and committees to make this happen."

The report includes data from UNESCO* outlining that of the world’s approximately 6 000 languages, only 12 account for 98% of all web pages and English, with 72% of web pages, dominates online. Latin-based TLDs show stronger IDN growth, reflecting the synergy between most European languages and Latin-script domain name extensions.

The .eu Insights report is available for download HERE. The .eu Insights series is based on surveys, studies and research conducted by EURid, in cooperation with industry experts and sector leaders.

*UNESCO 2008 "Securing a Place for a Language in Cyberspace", Marcel Diki-Kidiri.


About .eu IDNs

Internationalised Domain Names are particularly important for .eu as the EU has 27 Member States and 23 official languages. EURid introduced IDNs under the .eu top-level domain in December 2009 supporting the accented-Latin, Greek and Cyrillic scripts, and registration patterns correlate with local language use. For more information about .eu IDNs, including a list of supported characters, please click here.