Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This is a song metadata i have (on Winamp):

enter image description here

I'm trying to figure which artist it really is. Tried googling/google translate, but couldn't find the artist/title in english. Although, one page showed the name "Wagner" in there, but I listened many of his songs but didn't find it.

How can I decode it into readable format; in that language it was written in (using unicode perhaps?), so i can use google translate to translate it? Or do i actually need to know the language before doing so?.

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is caused by character encoding mismatch, which is fairly common when legacy 8-bit encodings are used. A broken tagger marked the ID3 tag as being ISO-8859-1, but actually encoded the text in Windows-1251 (which ID3v2 does not allow). Your player doesn't know about it and thinks that the text is in ISO-8859-1. Or maybe worse; it also ignores the ID3 spec and thinks the tag is in Windows-1252 or whatever your local encoding is. Wikipedia calls this mojibake.

(It's impossible for a program to reliably differentiate between the 8-bit Windows-125x or ISO-8859-x encodings other than by making statistical guesses based on letter frequencies as the Universal Decoder does, so the encoding has to be specified explicitly. The ID3v1 specification only allowed ISO-8859-1, but nobody cared about it. ID3v2 allows ISO-8859-1, UTF-8, and UTF-16, with the encoding being specified in the tag itself. Unfortunately, not all players have started caring.)

The Universal Cyrillic Decoder might help; it decodes "Artist" to Евгений Мравинский.

If the page doesn't work, try this tool or find a Linux box that has iconv:

echo "garbage" | iconv -t Windows-1252 | iconv -f Windows-1251

(Hopefully, Winamp will know better and store the fixed tags in Unicode...)

Do not use ID3 version 1 when tagging music, to (mostly) avoid such problems.

share|improve this answer
It's a long shot, but MP3Tag ( may be able to fix the character encoding mismatch. There isn't much it cannot do. – Richard Oct 29 '12 at 22:27
+1 Nice answer! :) – Karan Oct 29 '12 at 23:27
Excellent website! Did the job perfectly. – Rookie Oct 30 '12 at 13:41

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.