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Languages at ICANN


Language translation is essential for ICANN’s global multistakeholder organization. Meetings, documents, and information must be accessible in a variety of languages. Translation facilitates access to ICANN and participation in its work for those who do not speak or are not fluent in English.

Translation Goals

There are two primary goals for translation at ICANN:

1. 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.

2. Make ICANN more effective as a global organization. ICANN's translations are available in the six United Nations languages –Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), English, French, Russian and Spanish – where appropriate.

How Translation Works

Translations are provided by means of several translation mechanisms. ICANN’s Language Services team consists of regional and language industry experts that focus on high quality translation and localization of content. Currently, this means that dozens of content items on www.icann.org are translated every day, but we do not yet offer full-site translation.

You can explore translated content for each of the United Nations languages, or search the site for translated content:

ICANN will be adding translation mechanisms and workflows over the coming months as part of the future language translations roadmap. Ultimately, our goal is to provide full-site translations.

Future Roadmap

A new platform which will include tools, workflows, and processes will leverage existing high quality translation resources with additional mechanisms to allow more expansive and expedient translations. The platform will include translation memory, terminology databases, glossaries, monitored crowdsourcing capabilities and machine translation.

As part of our roadmap, we will define four levels of content on ICANN.org, and for each we will associate a specific translation mechanism:

Level 1 - Core, technical and sensitive ICANN content to be translated by a selected preferred group of vendors and validated by ICANN Language Experts
Level 2 - Core, non-technical ICANN content to be translated by a third-party network of experienced professional language services vendors
Level 3 - Other content translations to be crowd-sourced by the community with the guidance and support of the ICANN Language Services Department 
Level 4 - General, non-specific updates to be machine-translated (this may include material such as e-mail threads, comments from PCP, chat related material, etc.)

Each level would be identified on the website, using clearly defined iconography or labeling.

How You Can Get Involved

We welcome your feedback and ideas as we work toward more comprehensive and efficient translation solutions.

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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."