Universal Acceptance – a technical or a cultural issue? – WS 15 2020

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12 June 2020 | 14:30-16:00 | Studio Berlin
Consolidated programme 2020 overview / Day 2

Proposals: #30, #36, #57, #87, #174

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Session teaser

Universal Acceptance (UA) is a fundamental requirement for a truly multilingual Internet. While there is a certain progress from the technical perspective, there is more need to explore how UA impacts on the users, how multilingualism works on the Internet, the difficulties for developing and deploying local content, the dichotomy between being more sensible to local culture and needing a universal communication means.

Session description

Universal Acceptance is a fundamental technical requirement for a truly multilingual and inclusive Internet. It is also the key to unlocking the potential of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs - e.g. .рф, .срб, .հայ,مصر, etc.), Email Address Internationalization (EAI - email address in local scripts) and new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs - e.g. .москва, .pizza, etc.). The number of Internet users is about 4.5 billion and it is continuously expanding. English remains the predominant language and ASCII (text in computers, telecommunications equipment, and other devices) the predominant writing system on the Internet and its infrastructure, and this puts a large number of Internet users at a disadvantage. Internet users around the world should be free to use the online and cultural identity of their choice.

Nowadays, there is a certain progress in Universal Acceptance from the technical perspective. There are technical standards on IDNs, EAI support and a number of UA-ready software are already in place. A community-based team of industry leaders, the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) supported by ICANN, has for a number of years raised awareness of UA across technical communities around the world, and continues to do so. In addition to its website that acts as a central repository for UA-related materials, it has also developed and disseminated a comprehensive suite of educational resources about UA and what organizations need to do to become UA-ready. Besides, there are some good examples of IDN and EAI implementations supported by the local governments.

Acknowledging the certain technical progress, there is still much to do to enhance the multilingual and inclusive Internet.

Together with our key participants we will explore from different perspectives how multilingualism of Internet users affects the local content, what cultural aspects are to be carefully considered and what obstacles prevent worldwide UA adoption. Are these obstacles of technical, business or national and cultural character? What can Government, Internet users, technical community and businesses do to achieve a multilingual, multicultural and interoperable Internet?

- Some texts are being used by the UASG website.


The session will have the following discussion points:

Brief introduction to Universal Acceptance

Technical aspects

  • Progress
  • Unsolved issues
  • Success stories

Cultural aspects

  • Multilingual Internet
  • Local identity

Stakeholders engagement

  • Roles
  • Responsibilities



Further reading

Universal Acceptance Steering Group website [1]

Universal Acceptance Case Study: Government of Rajasthan [2]

IDN World Report on Internationalized Domain Names [3]

CENTR Paper Domain name registries and online content [4]

CENTR Fact sheet on IDNs [5]

Internet World Users By Languages [6]

The many languages missing from the internet [7]

Multilingual SEO [8]

Digital Language Divide [9]

Two worlds: Languages IRL and online [10]

Language Status [11]


Until .

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Focal Point

  • Lianna Galstyan

Organising Team (Org Team) List them here as they sign up.

  • Roberto Gaetano
  • Marina Shentsova
  • Abdalmonem Galila
  • Patrik Fältström
  • Maria Kolesnikova
  • Nikolis Smith

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Will be provided here after the event.Technical and operational issues 2020