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I loaded

alt text

and then changed the character encoding to Greek

alt text

and got this

alt text

What exactly did the browser do when I changed the character encoding?

It looks like translation but I think it should be something like interpreting the characters as Greek data and rendering the corresponding Greek, which might not make any sense.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

A character set ("charset") is a mapping from arbitrary integers to characters.

The web site is sending along a sequence of integers to your web browser, along with a recommendation about how they are supposed to be translated into characters.

When you change the character encoding used by the browser, you change how it parses these integers. So, if your character encoding does not match the one intended by the web page, you will likely see garbage.

I suggest using your browser's "autodetect" setting, which will take the web site's recommended encoding and should always let you see the site as it is meant to be viewed.

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thanks! – Lazer Aug 13 '10 at 5:19

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