About the Internationalization (i18n) Activity


The mission of the W3C Internationalization Activity is to ensure that W3C's formats and protocols are usable worldwide in all languages and in all writing systems.

Current projects

See the descriptions of the groups below for information about general areas of activity within the Internationalization area.


The Internationalization Activity aims to ensure universal access to the World Wide Web. The work takes place in the following groups:

  1. The Internationalization Working Group provides a wide range of advice and support for groups developing or using international aspects of the Web. It reviews specifications produced by other W3C Working Groups, looking for any issues that would cause barriers to deployment and use of Web technologies due to language, script, region or culture, and provides discusses issues with those groups. It also produces its own documents and content. This includes requirements, guidelines and proposals for specification writers, as well as educational resources, checkers and outreach to help developers and content authors better understand and more widely implement the internationalization aspects of W3C technology. The group also develops tests for internationalization features on the Web, and produces summaries of their results. [Home page] [Charter]
    Join the group

  2. The Internationalization Interest Group is a public group supporting the activity of the Internationalization Working Group. Most of the technical discussion of the WG takes place on the Interest Group list. Anyone can participate in the Interest Group by simply joining one of the mailing lists. There are no teleconferences. The www-international mailing list is used for general discussion about internationalization topics. A number of related mailing lists are used for more detailed discussion of topics related to particular aspects of internationalization. Task forces can be set up within the Interest Group, to focus on a particular topic or deliverable. [Home page] [Charter] [Archive]
    To subscribe, send a mail to www-international-request@w3.org with subscribe as the subject.

  3. The ITS (Internationalization Tag Set) Interest Group aims to foster a community of users of the Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) by promoting its adoption and gathering information for its further development. ITS provides a set of concepts that can be mapped to markup and that make it easier to internationalize and localize documents. The Interest Group supports the MultlingualWeb-LT Working Group. There are also a set of Best Practices for XML Internationalization. The group works through a public list and wiki, and monthy teleconference calls. [Home page] [Charter] [Archive]
    To subscribe, send a mail to public-i18n-its-ig-request@w3.org with subscribe as the subject.

  4. The Indic Layout Task Force plans to document requirements for the layout of Indian languages realized with technologies like CSS, SVG and XSL-FO. This task force will gather and integrate feedback from the participating members about the need and technical feasibility of the requirements, focusing on specific use cases in India for Indian languages, and will report the results of its activities as a group back to the Internationalization Core Working Group, as well as to other relevant groups and to the W3C membership and community. [Home page] [Charter]
    To participate, join the Internationalization Interest Group by subscribing to the (publicly archived) public-i18n-indic@w3.org mailing list.

The Internationalization Activity Statement introduces some concepts relating to internationalization, and describes the current status of Internationalization Activity.

Community Groups

There are also some related Community Groups, such as the following. (New CGs can be started at any time, and this list may not be up to date. See the full list of CGs.) Note that these are not run under the Internationalization Activity. Anyone can join a CG – follow the links below for more information.

  1. Chinese Digital Publishing

  2. Character Description Language

  3. Linked Data for Language Technology

  4. Best Practices for Multilingual Linked Open Data

  5. Mobile Web in Indian Languages

  6. Locations and Addresses

  7. Multilingual Web Sites

Former Groups

  1. The MLW-LT (MultilingualWeb Language Technology) Working Group defined the Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) 2.0. This delivers metadata for web content (mainly HTML5) and "deep Web" content (or example a CMS or XML file from which HTML pages are generated). The metadata facilitates interaction with multilingual technologies and localization processes. They also produced reference implementations. The group was closed on 17 January 2014, having successfully published the Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) 2.0 specification as a Recommendation. the Working Group has started discussing ITS 2.0 best practices topics within the Internationalization Tag Set Interest Group. This is an open forum aiming to generate discussion around future possible work in this area. To participate contribute to the ITS IG wiki and the ITS IG mailling list. [Home page] [Charter]

  2. The Japanese Layout Task Force created a document about requirements for general Japanese layout realized with technologies like CSS, SVG and XSL-FO and eBooks. The group worked internally in Japanese. The document was mainly based on a standard for Japanese layout, JIS X 4051, however, it also addresses areas which are not covered by JIS X 4051. The group is no longer active, however many of the participants still subscribe to the public-i18n-cjk mailing list. [Home page]

  3. The Internationalization GEO Working Group worked to make the internationalization aspects of W3C technology better understood and more widely and consistently used through guidelines, education and outreach. This WG was closed when the work was merged into that of the Internationalization Working Group in 2007. [Home page] [Charter]

Public mailing lists & Archives

The following mailing lists allow members of the public to participate in or track the work of the Internationalization Activity. The various groups in the Activity also use member-only lists (mostly for adminstration) that are listed on the group home pages.

To post to public lists, you need to first subscribe. You do not need to be subscribed to follow the links to the archives.

www-international is where the Internationalization Activity discusses most of its technical issues by default. This is also the main list of the Internationalization Interest Group (i18n IG), and by subscribing to the list you become a member of the IG. [Archive] [Subscribe]

There are also a number of specialized lists in use:

  1. public-i18n-bidi is for discussions about bidirectional text and other issues related to support of right-to-left scripts, such as Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Urdu, Thaana, etc. You should also send comments to this list about w3c documents related to right-to-left scripts. This list is managed as part of the Internationalization Interest Group (i18n IG), and by subscribing to the list you become a member of the IG. [Archive] [Subscribe]

  2. public-i18n-cjk is for discussions about issues related to support of Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages and scripts. You should also send comments to this list about w3c documents related to these scripts, such as the Japanese Layout Requirements document. This list is managed as part of the Internationalization Interest Group (i18n IG), and by subscribing to the list you become a member of the IG. [Archive] [Subscribe]

  3. public-i18n-indic is for discussions about issues related to support of South Asian languages and scripts, such as Hindi, Tamil, etc. You should also send comments to this list about w3c documents related to indic scripts. This list is used the by Indic Layout Task Force, part of the Internationalization Interest Group (i18n IG), and by subscribing to the list you become a member of the IG. [Archive] [Subscribe]

  4. public-i18n-its-ig is for discussions about the Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) and related topics. You should also send comments to this list about the ITS Recommendation and related publications. This list is managed as part of the ITS Interest Group, and by subscribing to the list you are a member of the IG. [Archive] [Subscribe]

  5. public-iri is the public mailing list of the IETF IRI Working Group. IRI stands for Internationalized Resource Identifiers. IRIs extend URIs beyond ASCII. The Working Group will update the IRI specification, RFC 3987 (see http://tools.ietf.org/wg/iri for charter, scope, work items.) [Archive] [Subscribe]

  6. www-i18n-comments was used in the past for comments on various documents produced by the Internationalization Activity. If your comments are likely to involve discussion, we would encourage you nowadays to subscribe to and post your comments to one of the lists above, rather than to this list. [Archive] [Subscribe]

  7. public-multilingualweb is also hosted by the W3C. This list is provided as part of the MultlingualWeb project for discussion of standards and best practices work needed to support deployment of the Multilingual Web. [Archive] [Subscribe]

  8. public-i18n-core is used by the Internationalization Core Working Group for certain, group-restricted discussions. The archive is public, but you must join the working group to subscribe. [Archive]


The Internationalization Activity welcomes the participation of individuals and organizations around the world to help improve the appropriateness of the Web for multiple cultures, scripts and languages.

Joining a Working Group, Interest Group or Task Force:

Other ways to contribute:

Benefits of participation:

Participation can benefit the participant and his or her organization in the following ways.

The groups need people with a wide range of skills, from technical authoring to specialised knowledge of particular technologies.


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Last changed 2012-09-28 14:02 GMT.