Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) are domain names represented by characters other than the traditional ASCII characters (a through z). Such domain names could contain letters or characters from non-Latin scripts (for example, Arabic or Chinese). Many efforts are ongoing in the Internet community to make domain names available in many languages other than those based on the Latin script.
For more information about IDNs, go to http://www.icann.org/en/resources/idn.
IDN Variant TLDs
Internationalized Domain Names, or IDNs, use character sets such as Chinese, Arabic, Cyrillic or any other characters outside US-ASCII. An IDN variant TLD can be defined as one that may look like or be considered exchangeable with another TLD by a user of the related writing system. For example, a string in traditional Chinese commonly has an equivalent simplified Chinese. A potential example in Latin characters is encyclopædia and encyclopaedia.
IDN Fast Track Process
IDNs were first made available to the governments and administrations of countries and territories operating country code top-level domains. The IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process was launched in November 2009 to enable ccTLD operators the opportunity to offer their users domain names in non-Latin characters. As of fiscal year 2011, there were 36 IDNs delegated into the root zone. These IDN ccTLDs are available only to the governments and administrations of countries and territories listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard, or their designated representatives or operators. There are a number of string requirements for IDN ccTLDs to be delegated through the process, one of which is demonstration that the IDN ccTLD constitute a meaningful representation of the corresponding country or territory name. For complete information about the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process, go to http://www.icann.org/en/topics/idn/fast-track.