The Preliminary Issue Report Translation and Transliteration of Contact Information [PDF, 648 KB] report addresses three issues associated with the translation and transliteration of contact information at the request of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council as approved in its motion on 17 October 2012.
These issues are focused on Domain Name Registration Data and Directory Services, such as the WHOIS, in generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs). In the context of these issues, "contact information" is a subset of Domain Name Registration Data. It is the information that enables someone using a Domain Name Registration Data Directory Service (such as WHOIS) to contact the domain name registration holder. It includes the name, organization, and postal address of the registered name holder, technical contact, as well as administrative contact. Domain Name Registration Data is accessible to the public via a Directory Service (also known as the WHOIS service). The Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA 3.3.1) specifies the data elements that must be provided by registrars (via Port 43 and via web-based services) in response to a query, but it does not require that data elements, such as contact information, must be translated or transliterated.
The Final Report on Translation and Transliteration of Contact Information [PDF, 984 KB] looked at the two issues identified by the GNSO and developed seven recommendations to address the identified issues.
The GNSO Report Final Report Translation and Transliteration of Contact Information [PDF, 984 KB] on contained seven recommendations:
Recommendation #1 The Working Group recommends that it is not desirable to make transformation of contact information mandatory. Any parties requiring transformation are free to do so on an ad hoc basis outside WHOIS or any replacement system, such as the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP). If not undertaken voluntarily by registrar/registry (see Recommendation #5), the burden of transformation lies with the requesting party.
Recommendation #2 Whilst noting that a WHOIS replacement system should be capable of receiving input in the form of non-ASCII script contact information, the Working Group recommends its data fields be stored and displayed in a way that allows for easy identification of what the different data entries represent and what language(s)/script(s) have been used by the registered name holder.
Recommendation #3 The Working Group recommends that the language(s) and script(s) supported for registrants to submit their contact information data may be chosen in accordance with gTLD- provider business models.
Recommendation #4 The Working Group recommends that, regardless of the language(s)/script(s) used, it is assured that the data fields are consistent to standards in the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), relevant Consensus Policy, Additional WHOIS Information Policy (AWIP) and any other applicable polices. Entered contact information data are validated, in accordance with the aforementioned Policies and Agreements and the language/script used must be easily identifiable.
Recommendation #5 The Working Group recommends that if the transformation of contact information is performed, and if the WHOIS replacement system is capable of displaying more than one data set per registered name holder entry, these data should be presented as additional fields (in addition to the authoritative local script fields provided by the registrant) and that these fields be marked as transformed and their source(s) indicated.
Recommendation #6 The Working Group recommends that any WHOIS replacement system, for example RDAP, remains flexible so that contact information in new scripts/languages can be added and expand its linguistic/script capacity for receiving, storing and displaying contact information data.
Recommendation #7 The Working Group recommends that these recommendations are coordinated with other WHOIS modifications where necessary and are implemented and/or applied as soon as a WHOIS replacement system that can receive, store and display non-ASCII characters, becomes operational.
Additional background and information for most of the recommendations can be located in Section 5 of the Final report.
The GNSO Council resolution on 24 June 2015 was to recommend to the ICANN Board of Directors the adoption of the recommendations (#1 through #7) as detailed in the Translation and Transliteration of Contact Information Final Report [PDF, 986 KB].
The ICANN Board adopted the GNSO Council Policy Recommendations concerning the translation and transliteration of contact information as presented in the Final Report on 28 September 2015 and directed the CEO to develop and complete an implementation plan for these Recommendations and continue communication and cooperation with the GNSO Implementation Review Team and community on the implementation work.