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Draft Position Paper on Language Diversity in ICANN Working Process

12 February 2001

Dear all,

After some further thinking the draft on LANGUAGE DIVERSITY to be
presented on 9/3/01 at Melbourne during our metings has been altered
just at the end.  I am now looking for your endorsement.




  1. Given that one cannot ask non-native English speakers for all of the following:

    • be as fast as native English speakers to understand all subtle issues in ICANN process
    • be as comfortable as as native English speakers in the anglo-saxon way of doing, with all procedures, term of references, etc, all what is inherent to this cluture they do not dominate
    • be equally skilled on all legal matters of common law
    • compete with native English speakers companies for new gTLD
    • pay for ICANN, either directly, or indirectly
    • and volunteer on their spare time to translate ICANN system and documents into local languages
    There is an abismal difference betwen UNDERSTANDING English texts and DISCUSSING in public in English...
  2. ICANN IMPORTANT documents (SPECIALLY THOSE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT) need to be translated into the world's major linguas francas. so that representation is fair and participation is higher. It is INCONCEIVABLE that any organization representing or claiming to be world wide would not have several languages available. It should be noted that Internet is not only for English speakers and that in order to have credibility as an international co-ordinator of Internet technical parameters ICANN must provide access to its working papers and discussions To do otherwise is cultural imperialism.Outreach and participation will always be hindered provided all communications continue to be just in English.

  3. The ccTLD Constituency of the DNSO has already taken steps towards Multilingualism by volunteer translators. It would be a way to start which would solve the problem of overburdening of translations. The whole of the DNSO should follow such example so that the ICANN Board can be influenced towards such a move.

  4. The ccTLD Constituency should set example by sending e-mail messages into discussion list in different languages (Altavista offers a solution A research into software transaltions products for discusiion list should be done.

  5. Because ICANN Bylaws provide the opportunity to introduce language Diversity, the matter should be brought to the ICANN Board and not just to the DNSO:

     (d) As appropriate, The Corporation will facilitate the transaltion of
     final published documents into various appropriate languages."

    A mechanism should be found in order to introduce Language Diversity in the ICANN process. ICANN Board should be asked what are they doing actually to accomplish what is commanded in the above bylaw. Based on the answer given by the ICANN Board it should be decided how to best implement introduction of transaltions of documents, simultaneous transaltions of "Real Time minutes made by scribes", simultaneous transaltions of the meetings (done in Santiago de Chile and Yokohama) and officialize transaltions of documents of the constituencies and bodies of every Suporting Organisation.

  6. ICANN should provide a site, at no cost, for volunteer transaltions. This process of Language Diversity should sart with volunteer translations. ICANN should provide a site, at no cost, for volunteer transaltions. As a evolution ICANN should slowly work towards professional translation to reach the U.N. Nations approach towards Language Diversity.

  7. English-mother tongue speakers should be officially reminded to speak slowly and to make the effort when expressing themselves in meeetings or dicussions lists to use plain English.

  8. An effort should be made to train ICANN participants into a better knowledge of the basic ICANN technical jargon.

  9. Language Diversity should be a point to be considered in the new Names Council Budget and Names Council Business Plan and in ICANN Budget.


Resolved: The ccTLD community position with respect to written communication in the ICANN consensus-formation process must include language diversity. To achieve these goals, ccTLD calls for a working group with a mandate to:

  1. Determine how many and which languages should be included, taking into account the trade-off between scope/cost and need for outreach.

  2. Determine one or more methodologies for achieving these translations, including a mix of paid and volunteer personnel or organizations.

  3. Determine the budget required.

  4. Identify institutions or foundations that might support all or part of the cost of this work.

  5. Make recommendations to the Names Council and its Business Plan group for the implimentation of this resolution, both within DNSO and for ICANN in general.

  6. Request the Names Council to communicate this report to the ICANN Board.

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Page updated : 2003-05-27 21:19:25