By Ed Oswald | Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 4:48 pm
It’s been a pet peeve for countries that use non-Roman written text in their languages, but ICANN appears to be set to vote Friday to keep the process moving forward. Internationalized domain names would mean that a domain could be written completely in a non-Roman language — for example Arabic, Chinese, or Hindu to name a few.
It does not come without its pitfalls however. Standard DNS can only handle Roman characters. Thus it has taken much of the past three years that IDNs have existed to rewrite DNS to prevent these domains from breaking the Internet — in other words, shutting these sites out to the Roman language world.
November 16 is the date where the country code (i.e. .ru, .jp, etc.) will now also be able to be written out in non-Roman script. Countries will have to apply to ICANN in order to start testing this new method out.
China, Russia, and Japan appear to be the first to apply for this new DNS method. It is expected by the next meeting in March that they would have had testing complete and be able to advise other interested countries on how they should proceed.
One thing I am not clear on is how these sites would work for Latin-alphabet net surfers. Will these sites have two addresses? Obviously, in some of these languages, the translations are not so exact.
Maybe we have somebody out there in Technologizerland who might know the answer to this. If so, speak up in the comments.