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Bengali and Khmer Added to IDN Testing Process | Internationalized Domain Name wikis now cover 17 languages

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MARINA DEL REY, Calif.: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers efforts to bring the languages of the world online have expanded with the addition of two new languages — Bengali and Khmer — to the global testing process.

"Each time we add a new language to the wiki, we open up the chance for more characters to be tested, and for more people to be involved and offer us input and ideas," said Tina Dam, Director of ICANN's Internationalized Domain Name Program "Since we launched the wiki with 11 languages in October 2007, we have added six new languages. We will continue to add languages whenever language communities come forward that can support a wiki."

The new Bengali and Khmer wiki pages are available off the main IDN wiki page, idn.icann.org, and through the following links:

Bengali
bn.idn.icann.org
বাংলা .idn.icann.org
xn--54b7fta0cc.idn.icann.org

Khmer :
http://km.idn.icann.org
ភាសាខ្មែរ.idn.icann.org
http://xn--j2e7beiw1lb2hqg.idn.icann.org

Because the addresses and some content display in fonts that many Internet users may not have loaded on their computers, ICANN has added a font page to the IDN wiki. It allows users to see if the fonts are loaded — and if they aren't to download them. The font page is at: http://idn.icann.org/Fonts.

ICANN is working with the larger Internet community to bring IDNs online at the top level. This means that instead of the current Roman characters available for domain names, close to 100,000 characters from the languages of the world would be available.

"Our goal is for IDNs to be available when the application period for new top level domains are launched in the second quarter of 2009," Dam added. "IDNs will help people have their name in their language, and these wiki pages are an important step in testing how IDNs work."

About ICANN:

ICANN is responsible for the global coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers like domain names (like .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) and the addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols that help computers reach each other over the Internet. Careful management of these resources is vital to the Internet's operation, so ICANN's global stakeholders meet regularly to develop policies that ensure the Internet's ongoing security and stability. ICANN is an internationally organized, public benefit non-profit company. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.

Media Contacts:

Jason Keenan
Media Adviser, ICANN
Ph: +1 310 382 4004
E: jason.keenan@icann.org

International: Andrew Robertson
Edelman (London)
Ph: +44 7921 588 770
E: andrew.robertson@edelman.com


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."