Language Technology

Internet Domain Names – the Biggest Mess of all Time

Internet Technology has affected lifestyle and work patterns in a massive way. Glowing rectangles of information, networks, and stimuli are a ubiquitous sight all around the world. Owing to the sheer amount of information available to us electronically, the need for Internet control, security and management has become irrefutable and overwhelming.

The ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, was founded in 1998 as a possible bridge to better pastures for internet coordination. As a not-for-profit corporation, ICANN members and supporters are dedicated to creating stable and secure internet operations in what may possible be the biggest organized mess known to mankind.

The main and most visible responsibilities of the ICANN include developing and organizing the Internet by way of a domain naming system. This includes top-level domains (TLD), which categorizes websites by the last part of the web address. For example, the com of www.termwiki.com is the TLD.

Within TLDs are more specific sub-categories, which include:

  • country-code top-level domains (ccTLD): the domain for countries, usually two letters, such as .uk, .ru, .cn, .id, etc.
  • generic top-level domains (gTLD), which includes sponsored and unsponsored domains, such as .com, .edu, .gov, .org, etc. (all of which predate ICANN’s establishment). Others more recently approved by the ICANN are .aero, .biz, .pro, .travel, .jobs, etc.
  • internationalized domain names (IDN): domain names identified in their original language script, which includes non-Latin languages.

With English making up less than half of the content available on the Internet, IDNs are “a natural evolution of a multilingual Internet”. IDNs are another component that not only makes navigation more user-friendly for non-English speakers, but also corresponds with the basic fundamentals of localization. As seen from this nifty map designed by John Yunker of Global by Design and Byte Level Research, featuring all the approved IDNs (as of last month) along with their ccTLD equivalent, IDNs are flexible enough to respect local dialects within a region. India is the most obvious example, with seven approved IDNs for different regional languages.

Related:  Technology: The Wearable Future

On another loosely related note, the Internet’s rapid and constant growth will soon be realized. June 8, 2011 marks World IPv6 Day, where Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and other large organizations will be test running the IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6). In terms of numbers, the world wide web currently using IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4), but the last of the 4,294,967,296 (or 4.3 x 109) addresses have already been allocated. The new version 6 will have 340 undecillion (or 3.4 x 1038) new domains available. Who even knew that anything that large existed in quantitative terms?

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CSOFT International is a translation, localization, and globalization services provider that helps international businesses reach out to customers around the world.