Early iterations of ASCII were defined with seven bits because binary sequences were all that was needed to cover all the English letters, numbers, symbols, and control characters needed at the time. It was just worked out that way when they arranged all the symbols they wanted. Since computers by then were already using 8-bit bytes in the CPU, engineers were quick to realize that there were a whole extra values that could be used. Things started getting crazy when system designers started using the eighth bit of a byte to denote an extra characters.
This was initially done without any standardization as local vendors in different countries did something that worked for their local customers. But vendors would still create their own variants of the standard for their own reasons e. The chances of one computer sharing bits of data with another computer from another vendor were already pretty low, especially across languages.
It was simply easier to ignore the incompatibility issues. For every code page, the lower values remained the same as ASCII, while the different choices for the upper values would each have their own code page designation. The end result is that unless the character set was clearly declared upfront, a computer needs to guess what encoding is being used.
These work fine for many European languages that have fewer than symbols. But Asian languages that make use of Han characters, such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, can use tens of thousands of characters. And so, they just need more bits to represent everything. The solution is to use two bytes 65, possible mappings , or sometimes even three bytes For example, if you primarily use ASCII characters that live in the first byte area of the mapping, you have a lot of extra bytes that are all zeros. Vendors will implement those standards and oftentimes put their own distinct flavor on top of them just to make life more fun and interesting.
So, if there are a finite number of code pages and languages are different, there must be a way for an algorithm to figure out what encoding is being used, right?
There are libraries that exist in the world where people who are very knowledgeable about character encodings and international character sets wrote code to figure out whether a stream of bytes was Russian, or Chinese, or Greek. One of the provided components is a charset detector. The linked paper above is an interesting read because it uses statistical analysis and the properties of certain character sets to figure out the likelihood of a given piece of text being a certain encoding.
This is why encoding detection can get wonky for very short texts, like tweets.
This is especially true if the tweet uses informal language and slang that may skew away from the base corpus data used to build the detector. Python 3 stores strings internally as Unicode — they have a separate byte type that can store actual binary encoded instances of strings. So, in the examples below, I can force a given string into various encodings and run it through the built-in character set detector.
Mojibake is the garbled text that is the result of text being decoded using an unintended character encoding. The result is a systematic replacement of symbols with completely unrelated ones, often from a different writing system. This display may include the generic replacement character (" ") in places Mojibake means "character transformation" in Japanese. Mojibake (Japanese: 文字化け Pronunciation: [modʑibake] "unintelligible sequence of languages, writing from Asian languages may be replaced with other special characters, People prefer the English version of OS and other softwares.
In effect, by working naively, the detector will give a correct answer for the string, but it might not be the correct answer for your entire text. Also, notice that it detects some text from cp to be Shift-JIS. There have been many flavors of Shift-JIS over the years by multiple vendors and standards bodies with varying levels of backward compatibility.
Notice that each time, the library was super confident 0. Hopefully, you can appreciate that the constantly changing and sometimes competing standards for different languages makes for a very complicated universe. This sort of problem space makes for fertile ground for bugs. The engineer who wrote the detector might be just unaware of a subtlety or edge case.
Or they favored one competing standard over another for whatever reason. Some of these encoding interactions are so rare and system-specific, you might be among the few who will ever come across them.
This thread is locked. You can follow the question or vote as helpful, but you cannot reply to this thread. I have the same question 4. Hello, Thank you for your interest in Windows Have you checked if Windows 10 is successfully activated on your computer? You know, the binary numeral system of zeros and ones.
Humans, on the other hand, understand characters only. You know, the building blocks of the natural languages. So, to handle human readable characters using a computer read, write, store, transfer, etcetera , they have to be converted to bytes.
One byte is an ordered collection of eight zeros or ones bits. The characters are only used for pure presentation to humans. Behind any character you see, there is a certain order of bits. For a computer a character is in fact nothing less or more than a simple graphical picture a font which has an unique "identifier" in form of a certain order of bits. To convert between chars and bytes a computer needs a mapping where every unique character is associated with unique bytes.
This mapping is also called the character encoding. The character encoding exist of basically two parts. The one is the character set charset , which represents all of the unique characters. The other is the numeral representation of each of the characters of the charset. The numeral representation to humans is usually in hexadecimal, which is in turn easily to be "converted" to bytes both are just numeral systems, only with a different base.
The world would be much simpler if only one character encoding existed. That would have been clear enough for everyone. Unfortunately the truth is different. There are a lot of different character encodings, each with its own charsets and numeral mappings.
So it may be obvious that a character which is converted to bytes using character encoding X may not be the same character when it is converted back from bytes using character encoding Y. That would in turn lead to confusion among humans, because they wouldn't understand the way the computer represented their natural language.
Humans would see completely different characters and thus not be able to understand the "language" which is also known as the " mojibake ". It can also happen that humans would not see any linguistic character at all, because the numeral representation of the character in question isn't covered by the numeral mapping of the character encoding used.
It's simply unknown. How such an unknown character is displayed differs per application which handles the character. In the webbrowser world, Firefox would display an unknown character as a black diamond with a question mark in it, while Internet Explorer would display it as an empty white square with a black border.
Internet Explorer simply doesn't have a font a graphical picture for it, hence the empty square.