“To have another language is to possess a second soul”, according to the Emperor Charlemagne. If this is true, then until recently the Internet had only a single soul, and it was English speaking.
The past few years have seen a burgeoning of multilingual Internet content, with English moving from 72% of webpages in 2008 to 27% in 2012, and poised to be overtaken by Chinese by 2015, according to this year’s Broadband Commission Report. The domain name system – the Internet’s road signs and navigation system – has lagged behind, and it was not until 2009 that the first entirely multilingual domain names could be registered.
Next week sees the publication of the EURid- UNESCO World Report on Internationalised Domain Names Deployment 2012.
The report will be launched at the Internet Governance Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan, and will be marked with a workshop featuring Vint Cerf, one of the Internet’s founding fathers, Janis Karklins, Assistant Director General of UNESCO, Markus Kummer, ISOC’s Policy Director and experts from around the world. The workshop will be moderated by Giovanni Seppia of EURid.
As main author of the report, I will be participating in the panel, and describing the factors which we found to contribute to the uptake of Internationalised Domain Names in a country or region, and therefore a more multilingual Internet.
Powerpoint slides will be banned, the moderator has promised a highly interactive session, with plenty of audience participation. Has the Internet now developed multiple souls, and how best can they be nurtured and developed? Can we create a multilingual Internet, better suited for the whole world?
Look forward to seeing you there!
Internet Governance Forum, Workshop 126, at 2:30 pm on 6 November
Baku Expo Exhibition and Convention Center, Baku, Azerbaijan
Title: “EURid-UNESCO World Report on IDN Deployment 2012 – opportunities and challenges associated with IDNs and online multilingualism”.