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How To Use Foreign Characters Inside Stamps.com

February 26th, 2016

244182_Blog-How-To-Use-Foreign-Characters-Inside-Stamps.comYou have an international order to go out and the delivery address you’ve been provided by your customer includes foreign characters such as 青岛市5号楼,8号室, or Не́вский проспе́кт, or רחוב דיזנגוף.  What’s your next step?

The first thing to know is that the Stamps.com software only accepts delivery addresses written with Latin/Roman characters, in order to comply with USPS regulations.  Your first step is to make sure that any addresses that contain Cyrillic (used by languages such as Russian, Bulgarian, and Kazakh), Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, or Japanese characters are converted into the Latin/Roman characters to meet this guideline.

Packages that are to be shipped overseas must first be processed by the USPS and thus the labels need to have Latin/Roman characters so it is handled and routed efficiently and correctly to the foreign postal service.

How to Translate Foreign Characters into Latin/Roman Characters

The good news is that you can easily convert foreign characters into Latin/Roman script using a character converter, which can easily be found online.  Some powerful conversion tools include Paralink and Lexilogos.

Pasting an address with Cyrillic and Japanese characters, for example, into an internet search engine will also generate the transliterated form with Latin/Roman characters.

Examples of Foreign Character Conversion 

Greek:  Αθήνα should be written as Athína, for example, or translated as “Athens.”

Japanese:  〒110-0007 東京都台東区上野公園 9_8 3 should be converted into Latin/Roman script as 9-83 Uenokōen, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 110-0007.

Without this character conversion, non-Roman characters will be converted by the Stamps.com software into question marks and other symbols that could create problems for mail delivery.

What about Accents and Other Special Characters?

What if a customer in Denmark wants you to send a package to him in Århus?  Or a Brazilian customer in São Paulo has ordered a product from you?  Does Stamps.com support the A-ring in “Århus” or the A-tilde in “São Paulo”?  Yes, Stamps.com does support most of the common special characters, including A with a diaresis (e.g. Mynämäki), the acute accent (e.g. Álftanes), the grave accent (e.g. Òdena), and the eñe (e.g. A Coruña).

Stamps.com and Character-encoding Standards

Stamps.com offers support for the majority of the character-encoding system known as ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange), with some exceptions, such as the macron (e.g. Ēdole) and the double dagger or diesis (‡).

We do not offer support for the character encoding standard known as Unicode at this time, so our software would not support special characters such as Ḱ and Ǵ.

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