Think you can succeed in India supporting English only? Think again.

#serveinmylanguage

It’s more than a hashtag; it’s a social movement. And it’s growing.

A movement among Indian consumers to force the vendors who depend on their business to actually support their native languages.

As this Times of India article notes: From ATMs to deposit slips, withdrawal challans and call centres, most public and private banks feel that service in Hindi and English should suffice their customer base –– Indians who converse in 22 major languages and 720 dialects.

This article is specific to the banking industry, but it’s safe to say that this is the beginning of something much bigger. Linguistically, India has been poorly served by websites.

As I noted in the 2018 Web Globalization Report Card, only 7% of the global websites studied support Hindi, followed by Urdu and Tamil. According to research conducted by Nielsen in 2017, 68% of Indian internet users consider local-language content to be more reliable than English. Facebook certainly understands this; Facebook supports more than half of India’s official languages. And it’s no surprise that Facebook now has more users in India than in the US.

Fortunately, some Indian banks are now becoming more multilingual. The Times of India article notes:

Private banks such as ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank are trying to be more multi-lingual in their digital banking strategy. “For instance, the Kotak Bharat app is aimed at financial inclusion. Users can transfer money, recharge their mobile, buy insurance, etc in Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil or Kannada. We plan to expand the app to handle other regional languages,” says Deepak Sharma, chief digital officer at Kotak Mahindra Bank.

And as you can see by this excerpt from my newly updated IDN poster, India represents a significant diversity of languages and scripts:

Languages are more than a means to an end; they are a sign of respect.

And companies that invest in languages are not only investing in their customers but investing in their own future.

Source

A unique look at the emerging multilingual Internet

I’m happy to announce that I’ve updated my map of the world’s internationalized domain names for 2018:

The map includes all ICANN-approved country code IDNs for the world — more than 50 across more than 30 countries and regions.

I’ve also included a sidebar that details the many scripts and languages now supported within India. You can learn more and purchase here.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

I also design customized versions of this map as well as the Country Codes of the World map. These designs cover entire walls in offices in the US and Europe. I’m also beginning work on site-specific installations using mixed media. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Country Codes of the World XL

I love to design custom Country Code or IDN prints for various companies and organizations.

And, on occasion, these prints can be quite large, as shown below:

cctld wall print

This photo is from the London office of a US-based company. I hope to see it in person someday.

If you’re interested in a custom design for your office, or wherever, let me know.

Now you can register the Korean equivalent of .com: 닷컴

Earlier this year Verisign, the registry that manages the .com and .net domains, began rolling out the localized Japanese equivalent of .com: .コム.

Today, Verisign adds another language to the mix, with the rollout of the Korean versions of both .com (.닷컴 ) and .net (.닷넷).

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 10.11.54 AM

This is sunrise period of registration, which is limited to trademark owners. The landrush period begins on August 16th.

Here are details on how these new localized domain names will function:

korean_IDNs

PS: The landrush for the Japanese equivalent of .com begins today!

 

You can now register the Japanese equivalent of .com: .コム

verisign_japanese_com

And so it begins.

Verisign, the registrar that manages .com domains, has begun its rollout of non-Latin .com equivalents, beginning with Japanese:

Japanese .com domain

Now, if you don’t have a Japanese domain name, slapping .コム to the end of your company’s name probably doesn’t make much sense from a branding perspective (though absolutely from an intellectual property perspective).

But more and more companies DO have Japanese domains names (or should).

And these companies will be registering this domain, if they haven’t already.

The official land rush begins May 16, 2016. So get ready!

Japanese is only just the beginning.

 

 

 

 

Bulgaria (at long last) gets it own internationalized domain name (IDN)

bulgaria_idn

Five years ago, Bulgaria applied for an IDN but was denied by ICANN on the basis of “string similarity” with the country code of Brazil.

Here is the Bulgarian IDN side by side with Brazil’s ccTLD:  бг  br.

String similarity is a complex and controversial issue. But Bulgaria refused to take no for an answer and, five long years later, received approval.

I’ve updated our IDN map to include Bulgaria’s IDN (see detail above).

There are now 33 country/regions with IDNs.