The construction of the multilingual internet: Unicode, Hebrew, and globalization

Nicholas A. John*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)321-338
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Globalization
  • Hebrew
  • Infrastructure
  • Multilingual Internet
  • Unicode


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