Transliterate (verb): to change (letters, words, etc.) into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language: to transliterate the GreekΧ asch.
- User experience
- Google shows non-latin character URLs in search results
- Many global companies, even the major search engines, use Latin characters
- Non-latin characters might not be displayed in some browsers
RFC 3986 requires percent-encoding of Unicode characters in URLs:
When a new URI scheme defines a component that represents textual data consisting of characters from the Universal Character Set, the data should first be encoded as octets according to the UTF-8 character encoding; then only those octets that do not correspond to characters in the unreserved set should be percent-encoded. For example, the character A would be represented as
A, the character LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH GRAVE would be represented as
%C3%80, and the character KATAKANA LETTER A would be represented as
Even though this applies to new URI schemes, most current browsers will perform percent encoding on URLs.
ICANN’s blog have lot of info about it.
All major browsers support it (IE, FFox, Chrome, Opera, Safari) according to ICANN.
I tried visiting the greek version of ICANN http://παράδειγμα.δοκιμή in IE8, FFox 3.6, Chrome 4.1, and Opera 10.53
All them shows the page correctly. Chrome and IE8 convert the address to latin characters: http://xn--hxajbheg2az3al.xn--jxalpdlp/%CE%91%CF%81%CF%87%CE%B9%CE%BA%CE%AE_%CF%83%CE%B5%CE%BB%CE%AF%CE%B4%CE%B1
The issue with both browsers is they need the language to be added in their preferences page.
Note they accept the URL out of the box, anyways they can’t display it. Also note that α is the greek equivalent to latin a so those browsers “convert” the URL to latin set.
- Unicode, UTF* & Character Sets: The Ultimate Guide by Smashing Magazine
- UTF-8: The Secret of Character Encoding by HTML Purifier
- ICANN unveils first non-Latin domain names by CNET
- Are Foreign Language Characters in URLs Bad for SEO? by fusionbox
- Should you transliterate your brand for international SEO? by Search Engine Land
- Multi-regional and multilingual sites by Google
- Website Translation: How to do multilingual SEO in 8 steps by SEMRush
- Here’s How Google Decides the Language of Your Results by Eli Schwartz