Home > oracle, SQL Loader > Wrong characters using SQL Loader against an UTF8 database

Wrong characters using SQL Loader against an UTF8 database

I have to load periodically data with SQL Loader. The source data is generated in a Windows environment, and I load the data in our servers (linux-based).

I have problems uploading special characters (Ñ, Ç, Á, …) because of the different NLS_LANG of the source data (ISO-8859, WE8ISO8859P1) and the NLS_LANG of the database (SPANISH_SPAIN.UTF8).

I’ve tried to convert the source data to UTF8 with iconv, but I still get wrong data.

Trying to specify the NLS_LANG in the control file does not work:


So finally, the solution that worked for me is to export NLS_LANG before uploading the data with SQL Loader:


sqlldr userid=user@database control=control_file.ctl log=log_file.log bad=bad_records.bad direct=true

And I get the correct data.

A few and interesting references about SQL Loader:



  1. Artuso
    May 30, 2014 at 19:57

    Great Article. It really worked for me the solution disclosed. I changed the NLS_LANG and was okay!


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