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My daughter is blogging from China. She wants to insert Chinese characters occasionally into her post so that she can explain what these mean. She has a Mac, which lets her type these quickly. When she tried to post them, she got ?? symbols. I checked the blog theme (TwentyEleven) and it's HTML5 and has this tag:

<meta charset="UTF-8" /> 

So, she's doing that properly at least. I imagine she'll need some kind of plugin that lets her use a shortcode or something in order to properly display the character. What plugin do you suggest?

Note that I may have needed to turn on UTF-8 setting in MySQL, that it might have been MySQL that was the problem? When you use Fantastico in cPanel to create a blog, it sets the encoding to Latin1 instead of UTF8. So, I had to use phpMyAdmin to find her blog database (difficult -- you have to click wp_options table and see if it's the right blog database). Then, I clicked the SQL tab and pasted the following, then clicked Go:

alter table wp_posts convert to character set utf8 collate utf8_general_ci;

I will report back if this fixes it.

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I asked my daughter to evaluate this change. If it works, I'll let you know. If not, then we may try the "Full UTF-8" plugin (which I just found) and see if that helps us. Will post back here once we find the results. – Volomike Aug 27 '11 at 16:04
up vote 2 down vote accepted

When one creates a WordPress site by default, or via the Fantastico tool in cPanel, it may create a blog with the Latin1 charset in the MySQL database. This causes Chinese characters (and other Unicode characters) to be switched into one or more ? question mark symbols, instead.

The fix is to connect to your cPanel, connect to phpMyAdmin, find the WordPress database that applies to your particular blog (click on the wp_options table to see if it says your blog domain name), and then click the SQL tab. On the SQL tab, paste this and click Go:

alter table wp_posts convert to character set utf8 collate utf8_general_ci;
alter table wp_links convert to character set utf8 collate utf8_general_ci;
alter table wp_comments convert to character set utf8 collate utf8_general_ci;
alter table wp_terms convert to character set utf8 collate utf8_general_ci;

This will now let you insert Chinese characters (or any Unicode character in the UTF8 standard) and save them into your blog.

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Thanks a lot! This was a huge help. I just got it to work on a site I had set up with cPanel a few years ago. – Joel Farris Jan 12 at 21:41

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