ICANN allows Indians to have website addresses in seven regional languages

Those Indians who always wanted to have website addresses in their own mother tongue (meaning that anyone who types the web addresses in Hindi or any other language reaches the website); can rejoice.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has allowed India to register website addresses in seven regional languages -- Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali and Telegu.

But as complications relating to handling the scripts are taking time to be solved, people still have to wait atleast six months to be able to see these website addresses. To begin with, the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) is giving out website addresses in Devnagari script (those languages that use the Hindi alphabets) which includes languages like Hindi, Marathi, and Nepali.

Talking of complications; they mainly emanate from the alphabets and the variations of their use. While those Indian languages which use scripts different from Devnagri (the alphabets used in hindi) itself pose a problem; others which use the same Devnagri script pose challenges of a different nature. For example, the word Hindi can be written in three different ways even in the Devnagari script. Hence the issuers have to take a decision on whether all spellings of a word can be included through a single registration or not. Plus, Marathi, Hindi, Konkani, Sanskrit and Nepali have the same Devnagri script; but there are issues with spellings.

There are also challenges as well relating to use of keyboards and fonts in regional languages; and above all the computer being used needs to be compatible.

Once the Indian-language domain names start showing up, Indian internet users can register their website addresses in Indian scripts like 'dot bharat', which at present for India is in English called 'dot in'.

ICANN is an international non-profit body that oversees allocation of domain names globally. NIXI facilitates exchange of local internet traffic between ISPs enabling efficient use of international bandwidth. --------

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