I'm looking for some tool that can convert text, ideally from UTF-8 (but ISO-8859-2 and WINDOWS-1250 would be fine) into ASCII/ISO-8859-1?

I have seen some online transliteration tools but I need something for the command line (and iconv is refusing to convert the file).

  • 1
    Hm, iconv is the command line tool for that task. Mind to share how exactly it refuses to serve you?
    – alex
    Mar 3, 2011 at 18:01

2 Answers 2


By default, iconv refuses to convert the file if it contains characters that do not exist in the target character set. Use //TRANSLIT to “downgrade” such characters.

iconv -f utf-8 -t iso8859-1//TRANSLIT
  • Oh, that's totally awesome, thx. Mar 3, 2011 at 22:03

If you're ok to use Python, give a try to slugify which is made to do character conversion such as é => e. And forget my previous answer mentioning konwert, which is used to format conversion.

  • Hmm, the description says otherwise. Are you sure? Mar 3, 2011 at 12:48
  • @Let_Me_Be: ok, maybe I read too quickly your question... If what you need is a not only a format conversion but a character conversion (i.e. é => e), give a try to slugify then. Mar 3, 2011 at 12:53

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