The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) plans to test the registration of domain names in non-Roman characters.
Prior to this announcement, the use of non-Roman characters (otherwise known as internationalisation) was allowed in any section of a domain name before the top level. In other words, any and all Web sites that operate on the Internet must use Roman characters (.com, .org, .net, etc.) to end the domain name. Prior to those characters, any alphabet can be used. According to ICANN, the new development will allow a Web site in any country to feature its native alphabet across the entire domain name.
The list of new languages for testing includes Arabic, Persian, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Russian, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Yiddish, Japanese, and Tamil.
When the test application goes online, ICANN wants users to push them to the limits. However, the case of internationalization opens a world of opportunity for phishing scams (Ars Technica), including spoofing commercial domains. Hence, the testing phase.
For more information:
ICANN to test domain names in 11 languages (ComputerWorld)