The window- and icon-labels can be set or queried using control
sequences. As a VT220-emulator, xterm "should" limit the character
encoding for the corresponding strings to ISO-8859-1. Indeed, it used
to be the case (and was documented) that window titles had to be
ISO-8859-1. This is no longer the case. However, there are many appli-
cations which still assume that titles are set using ISO-8859-1. So
that is the default behavior.
If xterm is running with UTF-8 encoding, it is possible to use window-
and icon-labels encoded using UTF-8. That is because the underlying X
libraries (and many, but not all) window managers support this feature.
utf8Title X resource setting tells xterm to disable a reconversion
of the title string back to ISO-8859-1, allowing the title strings to be
interpreted as UTF-8. The same feature can be enabled using the title
mode control sequence described in this summary.
Separate from the ability to set the titles, xterm provides the ability
to query the titles, returning them either in ISO-8859-1 or UTF-8. This
choice is available only while xterm is using UTF-8 encoding.
Finally, the characters sent to, or returned by a title control are less
constrained than the rest of the control sequences. To make them more
manageable (and constrained), for use in shell scripts, xterm has an
optional feature which decodes the string from hexadecimal (for setting
titles) or for encoding the title into hexadecimal when querying the
So your options are:
Send the title as latin1:
printf '\e]2;%b\a' 'T\0351l\0351chargement'
utf8Title resource to true:
in your resource file.
\e[>2t sequence to enable
\e[>2T to disable):
printf '\e[>2t\e]2;%s\a' Téléchargement