I have a few pages where we allow the people to enter other language characters like german, dutch, spanish etc....

I want to test the field by using words of different languages to make sure all the characters are saved in its own format. I used the german word (Geschäftsreise). After saving, the letter (ä) is displaying as �

How to test these fields?

Thanks in advance

  • 2
    Is the app translating the words? If not, just hit it with special characters eg ō and see if they cause problems Jan 21, 2014 at 16:45

3 Answers 3


You're already doing it! The core principle here, which you're already following, is:

  1. Prepare some data
  2. Enter it into the input field
  3. Check whether it is displayed correctly in the output.

To make your testing more sophisticated and thorough, consider the possible variations at each stage:

1. Data:

  • Basic numbers and letters
  • Basic punctuation
  • Non-ascii letters e.g. the ä used in German.
  • Non-ascii punctuation e.g. the em-dash — , the en-dash – , the ellipsis …
  • Types of whitespace: Spaces, non-breaking spaces, tabs, line-breaks
  • Short data, long data

2. Data entry:

  • Typing the text directly into the input field
  • Pasting in the text.
  • Pasting from a plain-text source e.g. notepad
  • Pasting from rich-text sources e.g. Word

3. Output:

  • The input field, after saving the data
  • A plain-text display of the data
  • A report including the data
  • A feed to another application

There are lots of subtle ways that programs can fail to preserve or convert the input data, so this approach is often a productive source of bugs.

  • Thanks for clarification. Where can I get these different language characters to test. Any source of information would be helpful.
    – STE
    Jan 21, 2014 at 16:57
  • 1
    If you use MS Word's Insert Symbol dialog, you can find everything there; I've used it to keep a file on hand with some good examples for frequent testing. Another source I use is generator.lorem-ipsum.info, where you can generate text with foreign characters and accents very quickly. Jan 21, 2014 at 17:13
  • One tip that people often don't think of is the use of the on-screen virtual keyboard - provided you have the language installed you can switch to it and find the language specific characters a lot more easily than using insert symbol or alt-codes. Jan 22, 2014 at 21:54
  • @sathiya - you could use Google Translate Feb 24, 2014 at 15:37
  • @Joe-yeah. Every language has some special characters like àâæçéèêëïîôœ. Using google translate, I can get the equivalent words for a particular language. I am unable to get words containing special characters as mentioned above.
    – STE
    Feb 24, 2014 at 16:50

The Babel tool will generate characters by language group, or multiple language groups.

Typically, if you are seeing a � character, that usually indicates that you don't have a font capable of displaying the Unicode character (or the Unicode code point is not assigned a character).

Corruption is usually indicated by a single chars displaying as 2 different chars, or as the question mark.

Also, plain text will only support character sets for the default system locale of the operating system. Since you are dealing with web pages, the default encoding of the Internet is UTF-8 (unless the pages are encoded otherwise).

Also, I recommend trying Indic languages since Indic language groups are Unicode only languages and have no ANSI fallback. This way you can make sure your pages support Unicode 100%. Thai and Vietnamese are also interesting to test for tonal marks and combining characters.

CJK characters of course. Inputting the characters using the IME may result in different behavior as compared to copy/paste.

  • I downloaded the babel tool. I am using mac and it is not supported in mac. Is there any tools that works on mac machine for testing. Thanks for the help.
    – STE
    Jan 22, 2014 at 8:05
  • 1
    You can try installing Mono (mono-project.com/Mono:OSX) and running the tool. (Sometimes there are UI issues running a .net app with Mono.) Also, there are some online data generators such as generatedata.com Jan 22, 2014 at 18:02

I found these sites to be helpful for getting the characters in different languages. http://www.lexilogos.com/keyboard/ http://gate2home.com/

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