Multilingual Web Addresses Undergo Tests

Internet users who don’t speak languages that are written using the Roman alphabet can now test web addresses in their native language.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — which is responsible for the global coordination of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers, such as domain names — has created a test that allows users to visit web pages with URLs in 11 additional languages.

“This is one of the most exciting times yet in the development of IDNs,” said Dr. Paul Twomey, ICANN’s President and CEO. “Internet users who speak the 11 languages of the test can play a key role in testing how IDNs operate, and help us move toward full implementation for all the languages of the world.”

Internet users around the globe can now access wiki pages with the domain name example.test in the 11 test languages — Arabic, Persian, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Russian, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Yiddish, Japanese and Tamil. The wikis will allow Internet users to establish their own subpages with their own names in their own language — one suggestion is: example.test/yourname.

The wiki pages can be accessed by typing example.test in the characters of one of the 11 languages, or by going to

“These wikipages are key to the test. We want to know how the URL displays in the Internet browser, if it works when you cut and paste it into the body of an email to a friend, and how all of this impacts the root zone,” Dr. Twomey added.

The 11 evaluation wikis will remain online until IDNs are fully implemented and the first top-level domain is introduced in the evaluation language.

The full introduction of IDNs will mean that people can write the whole of a domain name in the characters used to write their own language. Presently you can only use these characters before the dot, so .com, .net, .org and the like can only be written in characters from basic Latin. IDNs will change this so literally tens of thousands of characters will be available to the world.

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