Internationalization (I18n) Working Group Charter

The mission of the Internationalization Working Group, part of the Internationalization Activity, is to enable universal access to the World Wide Web by proposing and coordinating the adoption by the W3C of techniques, conventions, technologies, and designs that enable and enhance the use of W3C technology and the Web worldwide, with and between the various different languages, scripts, regions, and cultures.

Join the Internationalization Working Group.

End date 30 June 2019
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Chair Addison Phillips (Amazon)
Team Contact
(FTE %: 70)
Richard Ishida
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: Weekly. Additional calls may be scheduled for specific tasks.
Face-to-face: During the W3C's annual Technical Plenary week. Additional face-to-face meetings may be scheduled by consent of the participants.


Success Criteria


Recommendation-track specifications

The Working Group will also deliver the following W3C Recommendation:


Implementations have not always implemented encodings for the web platform in the same way, have not always used the same labels, and often differ in dealing with undefined and former proprietary areas of encodings. This specification attempts to fill those gaps so that new implementations do not have to reverse engineer encoding implementations of the market leaders and existing implementations can become more interoperable.

Expected completion: Q4 2016

Each specification should contain a section detailing any known security or privacy implications for implementers, Web authors, and end users.

Reviews and advice

Most of the formal documents produced by the Working Group are guidelines, best practices, requirements, and the like. These are best published as Working Group Notes.

Review of specifications of other W3C Working Groups for issues related to internationalization, global usage, and cultural sensitivity is an essential deliverable of the Internationalization Working Group. This is not a time-bound activity and the exact schedule of these reviews depends on the progress of other Working Groups and the availability of resources in the Internationalization Working Group. There is usually a regular supply of review work to be done. The WG is doing its best to provide reviews as early as possible in the specification development process, rather than waiting for Last Call. Review work leads to the raising and tracking of issues related to a technology. Discussions related to these issues are often much more time-consuming than the review itself.

In addition to discussions arising from reviews, the Working Group is often called upon to support other Working Groups with adhoc advice and discussion.

Web internationalization resources

The Working Group is being chartered to operate under the Patent Policy to allow it to take documents to Recommendation status when the need arises.

The WG will continue to publish resources on the Internationalization Activity site to assist users of W3C and related Web technologies to internationalize their applications, content, and services. These will include articles, notes and reference pages and tutorials.

The Working Group will also maintain the Internationalization Activity Web presence, and develop and maintain ways for users of its resources to quickly find the material they need, through a variety of means, including topic-based and task-based indexing.

The WG will also provide internationalization-related best practices for users of Web technologies. These documents make the information available in a task based fashion, and are accessed by higher level web pages, targeted at specific user types and activities, that group together and link to all relevant information in summary form, with an organization that aids their use.

The WG will work with and publish documents for various groups set up to document layout and related requirements for the Web Platform and Electronic Book technologies. The aim is to produce documents similar to the Japanese Layout Requirements for a range of scripts and languages, and other sources of information for implementers and content developers. See a list of currently available information.

Internationalization tests

The WG will build on the existing foundation to create additional test pages and summaries of results for the support of internationalization-related features in major browsers. The tests will be made available to the CSS and Web Platform test suites, where appropriate. These tests explore support by user agents for internationalization related features, but also serve an educational role. In addition to their support for techniques documents and articles, these tests are being used by content authors. In addition, other W3C WGs have incorporated these tests into their own test suites, and user agent development teams from all the major browsers have used these tests for identifying, fixing or enhancing internationalization features or bugs in their browsers.

Outreach activities

The WG will seek to regularly present knowledge developed by the WG at conferences and meetings where Web internationalization topics are relevant, and to maintain a presence in internationalization and localization related publications. It will also seek out key opportunities to present the internationalization message to content authors and implementers, and to encourage the provision of requirements for internationalization of W3C technologies by in-country experts.


Plans for the Encoding specification are as follows. The document is currently in CR, and browser developers are working on implementations.

Note: The group will document significant changes from this initial schedule on the group home page.
Specification PR Rec
Encoding Aug 2016 Oct 2016

Other WG deliverables are produced on an ongoing basis throughout the life of the charter, and the specific topics to be addressed by the working group and schedule information cannot be determined far in advance, but are driven by the needs of the Web community.

Plans for work on resource development and reviews can be tracked at:



W3C Working Groups
The I18n WG will work with any W3C Working Group to ensure that their deliverables support international use.
Other Groups
From time to time, the work of the Internationalization Working Group will be dependent on developments in groups outside the W3C. For example, specifications at the Unicode Consortium, or work on IRIs or language tags at the IETF, etc.

Closely related WGs

Internationalization Interest Group
The I18n WG maintains close contact with the I18N IG (charter). Resources produced by this WG will be submitted to the I18N IG mailing list for review. When needed to assure a broader base for decisions, technical topics may be submitted to the I18N IG mailing list for discussion. The I18N IG mailing list will also be used for sharing information about the work of this WG, sending out information about the progress of this WG at regular intervals, and soliciting feedback in general. Members of this WG are expected to also become members of the I18N IG to assure a smooth flow of information. The WG will also work closely with the task forces in the purvey of the Interest Group to publish documents about layout and similar requirements.
ITS Interest Group
The I18n WG will maintain close contact with the ITS IG (charter). Members of the ITS IG may collaborate with the WG to publish pages on the Web site, and the WG will provide assistance to the ITS WG for the development of techniques documents, eg. editorial guidance, templates and the like.

The i18n WG will work with other horizontal review groups for accessibility, performance, privacy, and security, and with the TAG, both to coordinate procedure and technical work.

External groups

The Encoding specification is developed at the WHATWG and still being maintained there. The Working Group will work with the WHATWG editors to avoid differences between the WHATWG and i18n WG specifications that would harm interoperability on the Web.
IETF working groups and other IETF activities that define technology with impact on Web Internationalization, such as the IRI WG and the work related to language tags.
Unicode Technical Committee (UTC)
A liaison has been established.
Ecma TC 39 (ECMAScript)
We will work with Ecma TC 39 on the development of the new EcmaScript Internationalization API Specification standard and the internationalization of the EcmaScript Language Specification (ECMA-262). The EcmaScript standard defines the core of the JavaScript programming language.
Supra-national and national standards bodies
The work of bodies such as ISO, ISO/IEC JTC1, JIS, and CEN, at the appropriate level (working group, subcommittee, technical committee,...), especially in so far as they work on general standards relevant to the internationalization of W3C technology or on national profiles of W3C specifications. Informal or formal contacts will be used as appropriate. The main groups, and corresponding areas for liaison, currently are:
  • ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2 (character encoding, sorting): A formal liaison has been approved to track the evolution of ISO/IEC 10646 and to input W3C requirements.
  • ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG20 (characters in identifiers): A formal liaison has been approved to track developments and to input W3C requirements. The work program of this WG has recently been reduced considerably, and so this liaison may expire naturally.
  • ISO TC 37 and the language resources community in general (e.g.ELRA), since corpora exchange is key to the language technoloiges needed for the multilingual web, and there is strong trend emerging for language resource sharing to take a semantic web/ RDF based approach
The group follows developments in Universal Access that are being worked on by ICANN and related organizations.
Localization Industry Standards
The WG will work with the Localization industry, in particular OASIS XLIFF to ensure representation of the needs of these communities in the work of the WG.
Conference and publication organizers
The WG will maintain contacts with the major conference providers in the internationalization and localization fields, and will seek to place articles in publications in this area.


To be successful, the Internationalization Working Group is expected to have 5 or more active participants for its duration. Expectations for effective participation in Internationalization Working Group are flexible. On average, participants are expected to consume up to one work day per week; one and a half days per week for editors.


This group primarily conducts its work on the public mailing list www-international@w3.org. This is the Internationalization Interest Group list, and can be both read and written to by list subscribers (the Interest Group). There are a number of additional, specialized mailing lists under the umbrella of the Interest Group (eg. a bidi list, a CJK list, an Indic list, etc.), which will also be used as appropriate for discussion. These lists are all tracked by the Internationalization tracker.

There is another mailing list, public-i18n-core@w3.org, which can be used for discussions within the group, where needed. This is a publicly archived list, writeable only by Group members.

The Member-confidential list member-i18n-core@w3.org can be used for administrative purposes and for discussion of any member-confidential aspects of specification reviews and liaison activities.

Information about the group (deliverables, participants, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, etc.) is available from the Internationalization Working Group home page.

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.

This charter is written in accordance with Section 3.4, Votes of the W3C Process Document and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (5 February 2004 Version). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.


This Working Group will use the W3C Software and Document license for all its deliverables.

About this Charter

This charter for the Internationalization Working Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

This charter was extended from 31 March 2018 to 30 September 2018.

This charter has been extended from 30 September 2018 to 31 December 2018.

This charter has been extended from 31 December 2018 to 30 June 2019. Addison Phillips changed his affiliation and re-appointed as Chair.

Charter author: Richard Ishida