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I've downloaded a Chinese txt notepad novel from various sites but it is never able to display the proper Chinese words and shows codes instead!

It doesn't work, even if I copy and paste it in Microsoft Word.

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Could you help us a bit and tell us what exactly you downloaded? A text file? A program? Notepad in a Chinese version? What exactly do you see? (What are "codes"?) What do you want to see? Can you upload a screenshot? Please edit your question –  slhck Aug 8 '12 at 10:22
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Do you know the encoding of the text (Big5, UTF8, other)? Are you sure the novel is in plain text form not in HTML or some other form? Can you give an example URL? –  RedGrittyBrick Aug 8 '12 at 11:39
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2 Answers

What appears to be happening is that the file you have uses an encoding that is not compatible with the native character encoding used by your windows version.

Programs such as web browsers have been developed to translate data between encoding schemes, you can try opening that text file with your web browser, have it use the appropriated character encoding thus allowing you to copy-and-past the file contents to another program:

Example using FireFox:

  1. Open the File accessing the menu "File" -> "Open File" or using Ctrl + O;

  2. After opened, go to the menu "View" -> "Character Encoding" -> "Auto-Detect" -> "Chinese";

  3. The file should now be perfectly readable;

  4. Copy-and-paste the contents to another program like NotePad.

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You either have to install the font or the language pack to support the file you are trying to use. Here is more information from Microsoft on how to do that in Windows 7 - How do I get additional display languages?.

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