Skip to main content

From Thai to Nepali, Walloon to Romanian and 50 More: The ICANN Team Speaks 54 Different Languages

Over the past two decades, in support of our Mission, the ICANN organization has made significant efforts to meet the needs of the Internet’s increasingly multilingual user base. Our achievements are due in part to the formal support from our Language Services team, but also to a diverse workforce spread across 34 countries.

In February 2017, our Human Resources team conducted a short survey to find out how many languages are spoken across the ICANN organization. The results are impressive – although on reflection not so surprising given the diverse team we work with and the range of nationalities and expertise in the organization.

The survey found that members of our staff speak 54 different languages. These languages range from Afrikaans to Zarma, and represent many different countries and cultures worldwide. After our official working language of English, the most widely spoken within the organization are Spanish, French, Chinese Mandarin, Turkish and Italian – with Arabic, German and Japanese close behind. Full details of the report can be found in the chart below.

This expertise is in addition to the formal translation and interpretation services ICANN offers to make content, policy development and meetings more accessible for users who do not speak or are not fluent in English. The work by our Language Services team allows us to provide reports, announcements, blogs, newsletters and more in multiple languages – focused on the core six U.N. languages. Last year, for example, ICANN translated over 51,000 pages of content, totaling more than 15,400,000 translated words. That is a lot of words!

You can find a quick summary of the great work that our Language Services team does here, including our Language Localization Toolkit, if you’re interested in bringing ICANN into your language.

The ICANN organization is committed to its language diversity, as well as to continuing to support the community through our more formal language support. So as we head into ICANN58 in Copenhagen, don’t forget to pick up a headset for live interpretation –  or maybe you can ask an ICANN team member if they speak Croatian or Swahili!


    Chiranjbi adhikari  01:43 UTC on 03 March 2017

    Progress and Challenges of ICT Development in Nepal by Whom ?

    Andreas Linder  08:52 UTC on 05 March 2017

    Thnx for it, I was finding something as like that.

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"""" is not an IDN."