Section: Linux User Manual (1)
The iconv program reads in text in one encoding and outputs the text in another encoding. If no input files are given, or if it is given as a dash (-), iconv reads from standard input. If no output file is given, iconv writes to standard output.
If the string //IGNORE is appended to to-encoding, characters that cannot be converted are discarded and an error is printed after conversion.
If the string //TRANSLIT is appended to to-encoding, characters being converted are transliterated when needed and possible. This means that when a character cannot be represented in the target character set, it can be approximated through one or several similar looking characters. Characters that are outside of the target character set and cannot be transliterated are replaced with a question mark (?) in the output.
Internally, the iconv program uses the iconv?(3) function which in turn uses gconv modules (dynamically loaded shared libraries) to convert to and from a character set. Before calling iconv?(3), the iconv program must first allocate a conversion descriptor using iconv_open?(3). The operation of the latter function is influenced by the setting of the GCONV_PATH environment variable:
Convert text from the ISO 8859-15 character encoding to UTF-8:
$ iconv -f ISO-8859-15 -t UTF-8 < input.txt > output.txt
The next example converts from UTF-8 to ASCII, transliterating when possible:
$ echo abc ß α € àḃç | iconv -f UTF-8 -t ASCII//TRANSLIT abc ss ? EUR abc
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