Setup Zen-cart for non-English Language

Within the last couple of days, I have been stressfully tried to upgrade Zencart shop with French language. I have backup the same data in the old database exactly, and move it to my workstation. I have installed French language pack for zen-cart, but it does not work. The special characters in French / other languages (i.e. é, à, ç and the like) was rendered differently (become ê, é, etc.).

At first, I thought the problem was on the database. Since I am not allowed to upload any new files to the server and I don’t want to create security risk by uploading phpmyadmin, so I used MySQL Administration tools to process the database. I have tried to use backup function and MySQL Migration tool but the characters on the web page is still faulty. I have also tried to change the collation and database type from “latin” to “utf8”, but again it did not work.

Finally, I just figured out that it has nothing to do with the database. I just have to change the CHARSET of the html page of the zencart, which can be modified from the language file (English.php, French.php, etc.). The strange characters was rendered differently because It was rendered using iso-8859-1 not UTF-8. The solution is to modify the following line “define(‘CHARSET’, ‘iso-8859-1’);” into “define(‘CHARSET’, ‘utf-8’);”.