The Construction of the Multilingual Internet: Unicode, Hebrew and Globalization

Citation:

John, N. A. (2013). The Construction of the Multilingual Internet: Unicode, Hebrew and Globalization. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication , 18 (3), 321-338.
The Construction of the Multilingual Internet: Unicode, Hebrew and Globalization

Abstract:

This paper examines the technologies that enable the representation of Hebrew on websites. Hebrew is written from right to left and in non-Latin characters, issues shared by a number of languages which seem to be converging on a shared solution—Unicode. Regarding the case of Hebrew, I show how competing solutions have given way to one dominant technology. I link processes in the Israeli context with broader questions about the ‘multilingual Internet,’ asking whether the commonly accepted solution for representing non-Latin texts on computer screens is an instance of cultural imperialism and convergence around a western artifact. It is argued that while minority languages are given an online voice by Unicode, the context is still one of western power.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 12/02/2015