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I have a file with properties in French.
I would like to convert it to ISO8859-1.
But after conversion, some symbols are lost.
What is wrong?

> cat fr.properties
VAR2="élément n’a"
> cat fr.properties | iconv -f UTF-8 -t ISO8859-1 | iconv -f ISO8859-1 -t UTF-8
VAR2="élément na"
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Is that character present in the ISO8859-1 encoding? I don't believe it is. Which makes this expected behavior.

To be clear: iconv's output in the iconv -f UTF-8 -t ISO8859-1 must be completely in the ISO8859-1 encoding. It can't leave ANYTHING in UTF-8. So, if there's a character in the input text that can't be represented in ISO8859-1, then iconv drops it.

When you then convert back, there's no way for the iconv -f ISO8859-1 -t UTF-8 command to ever know that the missing character existed, so you don't get it on the other end.

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