So the data I receive to put into the database is in some weird encoding. a colleague said recode was the right tool to try to convert those nasty files.
apt-get install recode
First shock: recode is really complex to handle.
First nice hint from the manual:
recode -lf l1
gives you the latin-1 tables.
Here’s the the recode manual
Addendum: the “file” tool can tell which encoding a file has. This is VERY helpful. My files have Non-ISO extended-ASCII text instead of the ISO-8859 that I need for the ä/ö/ü contained in German language files.