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Does ArcSDE support Unicode?
ArcSDE 8.x and prior
No; Unicode is not supported.
ArcSDE 9.0 and 9.1
Full Unicode support is not available.
Some Unicode support is available at ArcSDE 9.0 and 9.1 when using Oracle or DB2 databases with character set UTF8, but with limitations. For example, it is not possible to load and display attributes in multiple languages in the same feature class.
For multilingual Unicode support, ArcSDE 9.0 and 9.1 support NCHAR and NVARCHAR columns in the database. NCHAR and NVARCHAR use UTF16 character encoding. To access and update these columns, use SDE C API calls, SE_stream_set_nstring(), and SE_stream_get_nstring().
ArcGIS Desktop has not implemented support for NCHAR and NVARCHAR; Therefore, when using ArcGIS Desktop with ArcSDE, there is no support for NCHAR and NVARCHAR.