National language characters.
The ascii code defines how the bytes in computer data are to be translated in characters (a-z and A-Z), digits (0-9) and punctuation marks. Only the values 0-128 are defined in ascii, the remaining hig values (128-255) are not defined in ascii. Languages that use special characters that are not in the regular a-z alfabet can use the high values to specify the special characters. But for that method you need a fontfile that is specific for your language because the high-value bytes can represent a different character in each language. A modern way is to use unicode to specify language specific characters. In unicode each non-ascii character is specified by not one but 2 or 3 bytes in the high-value range (128-255). In unicode you don't need a separate fontfile for each language, and also language with very many characters like Chinese can be made visible this way.
Although unicode is the standard representation now, there are stil many karaoke file that are coded the old fashioned way. One of the reasons is that tools like VanBasco do not support unicode. Also the old versions of Serenade did not support unicode. In the new version of Serenade unicode is the default but you can switch it off and on in the preferences window. If you have karaoke files with special characters that show correct in VanBasco, then you need to switch unicode off in Serenade. If you don't know if you are typing unicode or fontfile dependent ascii, then just try switching unicode on and off in Serenade to see when you get the correct characters on screen. You can also specify which fontfile to use in the preference window. If you have both unicode karaoke files and fontfile dependend ascii karaoke files, the you can specify inside each karaoke file what to do. The details can be read in the help file chapter about the preferences.
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