Which Character Encoding for a Chinese/English Site? *Solved

I have a basic understanding of what character encoding is, my question is, which encoding should I use for a site that will be displayed in English and Chinese (in Taiwan)?

My basic understanding tells me to use Big-5 or UTF-8 (leaning strongly towards UTF-8.) Does that about sum it up?

Erm… there was a recent thread about this. Let me see if I can find it…

No need. I found what I was looking for after a more googling. UTF-8 is what I want to use. Note to anyone thinking about making a forum (with multiple languages): when you first set things up, be sure to set the Character Encoding to UTF-8 in the beginning.

If you run the forum for a while, and then change it, all previous post will be affecting by the change and will give you headaches. Lucky for me I learned this one the easy way :smiley:.

UTF-8 is the best choice for the world, but not necessarily the most practical for Taiwan.

A fair number of people here use old browsers with the encoding hard-set to Big5, and may not be able to see utf-8 pages despite both a Content-Type header and meta tag. There are also issues with encoding conflicts on form inputs, file uploads, and other submitted content. Not to mention that Big5 includes codepoints for some Taiwan-specific characters that may not be translatable into utf-8.

All of the above are why the company I used to work at use Big5 for their chinese site.

So, it depends on whether the Chinese portion of your site is aimed at Taiwanese people, or outsiders. Also on how willing you are to exclude segments of potential visitors based on their obsolete software.

Ah! These are the reasons I thought I was missing. Are you telling me that Big-5 would be the better choice for a website that caters to foreigners and Taiwanese living in Taiwan?

I noticed that the English Hess site is UTF-8 and the Chinese is Big-5. The thing is, I can’t separate the two like this. I need to choose one or the other.

UTF-8 would also allow for other languages to be displayed in the forum as well correct? How old is the software you’re talking about? Windows 95/98? I have a feeling utf-8 is the better choice here but I could be wrong. What do you think? It’s for the site currently in my sig by the way.

Thanks for the additional thoughts.

For some definition of “better”. It would be more widely accessible to Taiwanese people, though I don’t know the numbers. You might lose 0.1% by using utf-8, or you might lose 30%. It depends also on your audience - young adults tend to have modern browsers, kids and older adults tend to have a dusty Win98 box running Netscape 2.0 or something, that has never been upgraded and never will. Obviously, the Hess site needs to work for the second segment, but maybe yours doesn’t.

utf-8 is better, but then so is Firefox, and yet we still have to debug our pages for IE.

I realise that none of this really helps you at all :wink:

Sure it did. Plus the part about Netscape 2.0 made me laugh. :laughing: