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reading in utf-8 file (javascript XMLHttpRequest) gives bad european characters

can anyone help? I have small procedure to read in an UTF-8 file with javascript using XMLHttpRequest.. this file has european characters like miércoles sábado etc.. Notice the accents..

But when being read in .. the characters are all messed up.. I have checked the file and it is perfect.. it must be the procedure for reading in..

heres an example i have file that contains, the file is perfect, it happens to be javascript but it doesn’t matter.. any UTF-8 encoding file with special characters gives me the same issue

this.weekDays = new Array(“Lunes”, “Martes”, “Miércoles”, “Jueves”, “Viernes”, “Sábado”, “Domingo”);

but when returned and read by the procedure below it is like this (notice the funny characters in sabado and miercoles)

this.weekDays = new Array(“Lunes”, “Martes”, “Miércoles”, “Jueves”, “Viernes”, “Sábado”, “Domingo”);

Here is my procedure – its very small…

var contentType = "application/x-www-form-urlencoded; charset=utf-8";

var request = new XMLHttpRequest();"GET", path, false);
request.setRequestHeader('Content-type', contentType)

if (request.overrideMimeType) request.overrideMimeType(contentType);

try { request.send(null); }
catch (e) { return null; }
if (request.status == 500 || request.status == 404 || request.status == 2 || (request.status == 0 && request.responseText == '')) return null;

//PROBLEM HERE is with european charcters that are read in


return request.responseText;



EDIT: Seems that this answer, although accepted, is suboptimal, so for anyone coming here with a similar problem, check out Ricardo’s answer

I think you have to use a different way to print the characters, for example, see the code at the end of this discussion:

  function getUnicode(num) {
    num = num.toString(16);
    if (num.length < 3) {
      for ( var i = num.length; i < 4; i++) {
        num = '0' + num;
    return ( "&#" + num + ";" );

  for ( var i = 0; i < 65355; i++) {