[DRAFT API] Detect Character Set and Language

This function uses the ICU engine to determine the character set, or encoding, of character data in an unknown format.

stri_enc_detect(str, filter_angle_brackets = FALSE)
character vector, a raw vector, or a list of raw vectors
logical; If filtering is enabled, text within angle brackets ("<" and="" "="">") will be removed before detection, which will remove most HTML or XML markup.

Vectorized over str and filter_angle_brackets.

This is, at best, an imprecise operation using statistics and heuristics. Because of this, detection works best if you supply at least a few hundred bytes of character data that's mostly in a single language. However, Because the detection only looks at a limited amount of the input byte data, some of the returned charsets may fail to handle the all of input data. Note that in some cases, the language can be determined along with the encoding.

Several different techniques are used for character set detection. For multi-byte encodings, the sequence of bytes is checked for legal patterns. The detected characters are also check against a list of frequently used characters in that encoding. For single byte encodings, the data is checked against a list of the most commonly occurring three letter groups for each language that can be written using that encoding.

The detection process can be configured to optionally ignore HTML or XML style markup (using ICU's internal facilities), which can interfere with the detection process by changing the statistics.

This function should most often be used for byte-marked input strings, especially after loading them from text files and before the main conversion with stri_encode. The input encoding is of course not taken into account here, even if marked.

The following table shows all the encodings that can be detected:

ll{ Character_Set Languages UTF-8 -- UTF-16BE -- UTF-16LE -- UTF-32BE -- UTF-32LE -- Shift_JIS Japanese ISO-2022-JP Japanese ISO-2022-CN Simplified Chinese ISO-2022-KR Korean GB18030 Chinese Big5 Traditional Chinese EUC-JP Japanese EUC-KR Korean ISO-8859-1 Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish ISO-8859-2 Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian ISO-8859-5 Russian ISO-8859-6 Arabic ISO-8859-7 Greek ISO-8859-8 Hebrew ISO-8859-9 Turkish windows-1250 Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian windows-1251 Russian windows-1252 Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish windows-1253 Greek windows-1254 Turkish windows-1255 Hebrew windows-1256 Arabic KOI8-R Russian IBM420 Arabic IBM424 Hebrew }

If you have some initial guess on language and encoding, try with stri_enc_detect2.


  • Returns a list of length equal to the length of str. Each list element is a list with the following three named vectors representing all guesses:
    • Encoding-- string; guessed encodings;NAon failure,
    • Language-- string; guessed languages;NAif the language could not be determined (e.g. in case of UTF-8),
    • Confidence-- numeric in [0,1]; the higher the value, the more confidence there is in the match;NAon failure.
    The guesses are ordered w.r.t. nonincreasing confidence.


Character Set Detection -- ICU User Guide,

See Also

Other encoding_detection: stri_enc_detect2; stri_enc_isascii; stri_enc_isutf16be, stri_enc_isutf16le, stri_enc_isutf32be, stri_enc_isutf32le; stri_enc_isutf8; stringi-encoding

  • stri_enc_detect
f <- rawToChar(readBin("test.txt", "raw", 100000))
Documentation reproduced from package stringi, version 1.0-1, License: file LICENSE

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