If you need to deal with characters strings that use many different encodings then make sure your SAS session is using UTF-8 as the session encoding. Check the system option ENCODING.
The session encoding needs to be set before SAS starts. So if you running from command line make sure to use command (or windows "icon") that uses the UTF-8 encoding. Sometimes called "unicode support". If you are using Enterprise Guide or SAS/Studio to submit code to SAS then make sure the application server you are connecting to is using UTF-8 encoding.
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