Towards communicating on the Internet in any language...

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Note: Many of the hyperlinks on this site use the HTTP protocol's linguistic preference function. When you click on a link, the server sends your document in the most closely related language among those available for that document. If your browser does not support this feature (does not forward your preference to the server), you will receive the document in the default language and will then have to click on the explicit link (as above) to obtain the version of your choice.

Scoop! See the Web Language Survey, a study of the language distribution of Web servers.

Welcome to the Babel site,
an Alis Technologies / Internet Society joint project to internationalize the Internet.



The Internet and Multilingualism

What's New on the Internet?

While the Internet is becoming an ever more global network extending to more and more countries and reaching a constantly increasing number of people, the standards, protocols and software on which it is based are beginning to show their limitations in terms of the increased number of user languages. Although the Internet used to be English only, it is becoming largely multilingual, thus raising some interoperability problems. To see what we mean, try some of the hyperlinks shown on this page [Note: this page is in Unicode (UTF-8); you will see many strange things if your browser does not recognize this code].

To begin your tour, you can first visit our mini-encyclopedia on The World's Languages. There you will find a list of the world's main languages leading to


articles on certain languages and their writing, together with a list of two-letter ISO 639 language codes, the same ones used on the Internet to flag languages (see RFC 1766). We also offer a glossary of terms associated with the language and its typography, together with several documents on the Francophonie (available in French only).

We also offer a more technical section dealing with Internet Internationalization. It contains much information on document coding in various languages, since everything must be encoded for transmission on the network. We are often asked how to publish documents on the Web in different languages, especially non-Western ones; all the answers can be found here in the Developing your own multilingual site section. HTML, HTTP, URLs, editors, browsers, etc. are all discussed.

Do you surf the Web often? If so, and if you would like to keep up with the latest news, you will appreciate our list of pointers to news lists, like our multilingual What's new? option. And check out our Hyperlink page to Internet resources on multilingualism, internationalization, etc.

Come back and see us again! This site will be updated and enhanced periodically with new documents and additional language - and Internet Internationalization-related subjects.


The Tango Multilingual Browser will properly display all of Babel's languages. Tango © 1996, Alis Technologies inc.

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