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Arabic characters show up like "?" in the dat file


I have a query, if you could help me out please.
We programmed a survey using arabic characters and the program was ok - text showed on browser without encountering any problems.
Now we received the dat files for the survey, but in all the places where it was completed with arabic characters I have question marks "?" (for example: Q9B_r1_c1,??????), thus in my datfile and SPSS database all open-ended variables have question marks where arabic characters have been used.

How could I solve this issue? I need for arabic characters to show instead of "?".

Thank you,
asked Jan 16, 2012 by anonymous
are you sure that the editor you 've looked at the original data with , supports UTF8 unicode characters?
 sometimes editors default to non-unicode encoding and do show ?? instead of proper characters.
You are right Bahadir, I looked in my dat files using word and the characters showed. Thank you!

But still, when I exported in SPSS format (after making sure that in the dat files the arabic characters showed), I still see "?" ( in SPSS v13 & SPSS v17). Do you think you could help me with this issue as well?

Thank you!
a quick google search reveals links like http://dss.wikidot.com/lables-in-different-languages I suggest you search further. Can't help you there.

1 Answer

0 votes
Many text editors do not support Unicode characters, or require you to change settings to view them properly. This is also true for some analysis programs, including older versions of SPSS (prior to SPSS v16). Check to make sure your text editor and stats packages support Unicode, and then check that your settings are set to interpret the characters as Unicode/UTF-8.
answered Jan 20, 2012 by Aaron Hill Gold Sawtooth Software, Inc. (10,695 points)