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The default character encoding for SiteMesh is ISO-8859-1. Also, SiteMesh assumes that the underlying platform encoding is also ISO-8859-1.

ISO-8859-1 is generally intended for "Western European" languages. The Wikipedia contains a list of languages with complete coverage.

To support an international market, you can switch to the new standard UTF-8.

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UTF-8 adoptions has been an ongoing transition. Case in point, Tomcat 6 and many other Servlet Engines still uses ISO as the default encoding. Even many Operating Systems today still default to ISO.

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