When working in a multi-character set environment, character set conversion issues can occur and it can be difficult to determine where the conversion issue occurred. When encountering character set conversion issues for client APIs, examine the database and connection options and properties that control character set conversion.
There are two categories into which conversion issues can be placed. The first involves sending data in the wrong format to the client API. Although this cannot happen with Unicode APIs, it is possible with all other client APIs, and results in garbage data.
The second category of issue involves a character that does not have an equivalent in the final character set, or in one of the intermediate character sets. In this case, a substitution character is used. This is called lossy conversion and can happen with any client API. You can avoid lossy conversions by configuring the database to use UTF-8 for the database character set. See Lossy conversion and substitution characters.
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