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Issues with sending HTML messages with Japanese Characters in Exchange\Outlook 2007

Posted on 2012-04-02
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Last Modified: 2012-04-14
Hi at our organization we are having issues with sending HTML messages with Japanese characters. The contents of the message is garbled. This only impacts messages sent to external users, not internal and only HTML messages.

We run Exchange 2007 SP3 on our mailbox and hub servers.
The client is sending the message using Outlook 2007.

In our environment due to restructuring we have 2 mailflows to external users.

Exchange 2007 --> MailMarshal --> Postfix --> Messagelabs --> Internet
Exchange 2007 --> MailMarshal --> Iron Port (IMG) --> Internet

When sending from Outlook through both mail flows the problem occurs.

On our MailMarshal servers we use Outlook Express client to send mail and we have no issues.

We then used Outlook Express client on our desktop to send a message through our application mail servers which delivers it to our Exchange 2007 Hub servers then to MailMarshal and internet and we have no issues which leaves us to think the issue is with Outlook 2007 or Exchange 2007.

If we send the message to Gmail we have no issues, if we send to yahoo mail we see the issue so it is just some external users that are having problems.

Is there anything we can do to ensure that no matter which client an external user is using HTML messages with Japanese characters can be read properly? Would language pack on Exchange server make a difference?

The attached file shows how the message looks like in Outlook when sending internally, then how it looks in Gmail and finally how it looks in Yahoo where the problem occurs.

Thank you,
JapaneseCharacterEmailIssues.docx
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Question by:rezaulhaque
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7 Comments
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:bigeven2002
ID: 37797440
Hello,

Did you use the same machine to check both gmail and yahoo?  You can try installing the language pack on the server, but if the recipient's machine does not have at least the Japanese language installed, then this problem can occur indefinitely.  I think starting with Windows Vista, all common languages including Japanese, are installed by default.

You might also check to see if Yahoo has a language setting such as detection or translation.  It may be trying to translate and not working correctly.
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Author Comment

by:rezaulhaque
ID: 37797571
I changed the language encoding in Yahoo and yes now I can view it properly. Question though why if I send a HTML message from Outlook Express ( avoiding Exchange mailbox server ) the message appears fine without changing any settings in Yahoo but when I send HTML message using Outlook we have issues?
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Author Comment

by:rezaulhaque
ID: 37797584
Just want to add that the issue happens when using Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 and webmail. If we resend the same message as plain text there are no issues.
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:bigeven2002
ID: 37798743
Can you try sending as rich text?  I don't know why HTML would encode Japanese incorrectly through Exchange or Outlook.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:bluebook
ID: 37813063
This is just a theory, but you can test it out: my guess is that (a) when you send it as plain text, outlook is not doing full MIME encoding and is omitting anything about charset and / or content-transfer-encoding.  I will further guess that when you use outlook express it doesn't specify a charset on the html part, leaving the client to (correctly) guess, whereas outlook is adding an incorrect value, or is using an encoding scheme that the client is unable to decode by default (you can specify default encoding somewhere in your preferences).

The theory may be off, but I'm pretty sure if you inspect the full MIME headers of the message in the different scenarios you will find your problem.  Japanese mail clients are traditionally very good at correctly guessing how the text is encoded, because they had to do this before MIME had even been invented; so if you send a plain rfc822 text message with kanji encoded in it, chances are the other end will recognise it and display it correctly.  If you do MIME encoding and start specifying the charset (correctly or incorrectly) you will probably be ok if the recipient is using the same mail client as you, but if they are different, ironically the results are less predictable than not MIME-encoding.
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Accepted Solution

by:
rezaulhaque earned 0 total points
ID: 37824954
Thank you bluebook and bigeven2002. We found the issue to be on our Iron Port (IMG) servers. It was a configuration issue on the appliance for the @yahoo.com route we setup internally. A change was implemented 2 weeks ago that caused the error to @yahoo.com domain on our end. I wasnt told about it till yesterday!

Goes to show - test after a change is made!
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Author Closing Comment

by:rezaulhaque
ID: 37845947
Apologies to Expert Exchange as this issue was an internally created one, fix hasnt been told to us, politics at its worse.
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