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DRAFT - ICANN Language Services Policy and Procedures

Comment/Reply Periods (*) Important Information Links
Comment Open: 18 May 2012
Comment Close: 2 July 2012
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 UTC Public Comment Announcement
Reply Open: 3 July 2012 To Submit Your Comments (Forum Closed)
Reply Close: 1 August 2012 View Comments Submitted
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 UTC Report of Public Comments
Brief Overview
Originating Organization: ICANN Communications Department
Categories/Tags: Policy Processes; Transparency/Accountability; Reviews/Improvements; Participation; Events/Conferences
Purpose (Brief): ICANN is opening a public comment forum for the draft Language Services Policy and Procedures. Community members are asked to provide feedback on the proposed document. ICANN Language Services provides support for translation, simultaneous interpretation, teleconference interpretation, transcription (of recorded sessions) and RTT (real-time-transcription, also known as scribing).
Current Status: Draft ICANN Language Services Policy and Procedures open for public comment.
Next Steps:

Comments will be accepted in this forum and in continued interaction with the community and staff. Once the comment and reply periods have ended, ICANN will review community feedback and post an assessment of comments received.

The Board Committee on Public Participation will then submit the policy to the ICANN Board with its recommendation.

Staff Contact: Christina M. Rodriguez Email:
Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

The provision of language services is intended to facilitate access to ICANN and participation in its work for those who do not speak or are not fluent in English.

The cost-effective provision of high quality multilingual services has two main objectives:

  • Make information about ICANN and its work accessible to those who speak languages other than English in ways that enhance participation in and the effectiveness of the multistakeholder model.
  • Make ICANN more effective as a global organization.

ICANN's language services include:

  • Translation
  • Simultaneous interpretation
  • Teleconference interpretation
  • Transcription (of recorded sessions)
  • Scribing (Real Time Transcription - RTT)

ICANN's working language is English. Its policy is to provide translation and interpretation in the six United Nations languages – currently Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), English, French, Russian and Spanish – where appropriate and taking account of budget constraints.

Section II: Background
Multilingualism is essential for a global multistakeholder organization. Meetings, documents and information must be accessible in a variety of languages. To address this need, ICANN submitted a previous version of this document (then called "Translation Programme") for public comment in March 2008, and in December 2008 contracted with a localization and language industry expert (a full-time translation coordinator). This complied with the Accountability and Transparency Framework and Principles, and laid the path toward more effective engagement with stakeholders.
Section III: Document and Resource Links
DRAFT – ICANN Language Services Policy and Procedures [PDF, 349 KB]
Section IV: Additional Information


(*) Comments submitted after the posted Close Date/Time are not guaranteed to be considered in any final summary, analysis, reporting, or decision-making that takes place once this period lapses.

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."