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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?.

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1 Answer 1

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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.

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It's a long shot, but MP3Tag (mp3tag.de/en) 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

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