Replace accented chars with unaccented ones

Noah noah at
Tue Mar 16 20:02:01 CET 2004

Nicolas Bouillon <bouil at> wrote in message news:<Tar5c.30313$zm5.12006 at>...
> Hi
> I would like to replace accentuel chars (like "é", "è" or "à") with non 
> accetued ones ("é" -> "e", "è" -> "e", "à" -> "a").
> I have tried string.replace method, but it seems dislike non ascii chars...

The following is the code that I use. This looks like what you are asking for.

In case this gets corrupted you can also find it here:
This has some improvements to readability and speed, but it is basically 
the same:


#!/usr/bin/env python
UNICODE Hammer -- The Stupid American

I needed something that would take a UNICODE string and
smack it into ASCII. This function doesn't just strip out the characters.
It tries to convert Latin-1 characters into ASCII equivalents where possible.

We get customer mailing address data from Europe, but most of our systems
cannot handle the Latin-1 characters. All I needed was to prepare addresses
for a few different shipping systems that we use.
None of these systems support anything but ASCII.
After getting headaches trying to deal with this problem using Python's
built-in UNICODE support I gave up and  decided to write something that
would solve the problem the American way -- with brute force.
I convert all european accented letters to their unaccented equivalents.
I realize this isn't perfect, but for my purposes the packages get delivered.

Noah Spurrier noah at
License free and public domain

def latin1_to_ascii (unicrap):
    """This replaces UNICODE Latin-1 characters with
    something equivalent in 7-bit ASCII. All characters in the standard
    7-bit ASCII range are preserved. In the 8th bit range all the Latin-1
    accented letters are stripped of their accents. Most symbol characters
    are converted to something meaninful. Anything not converted is deleted.
    xlate={0xc0:'A', 0xc1:'A', 0xc2:'A', 0xc3:'A', 0xc4:'A', 0xc5:'A',
        0xc6:'Ae', 0xc7:'C',
        0xc8:'E', 0xc9:'E', 0xca:'E', 0xcb:'E',
        0xcc:'I', 0xcd:'I', 0xce:'I', 0xcf:'I',
        0xd0:'Th', 0xd1:'N',
        0xd2:'O', 0xd3:'O', 0xd4:'O', 0xd5:'O', 0xd6:'O', 0xd8:'O',
        0xd9:'U', 0xda:'U', 0xdb:'U', 0xdc:'U',
        0xdd:'Y', 0xde:'th', 0xdf:'ss',
        0xe0:'a', 0xe1:'a', 0xe2:'a', 0xe3:'a', 0xe4:'a', 0xe5:'a',
        0xe6:'ae', 0xe7:'c',
        0xe8:'e', 0xe9:'e', 0xea:'e', 0xeb:'e',
        0xec:'i', 0xed:'i', 0xee:'i', 0xef:'i',
        0xf0:'th', 0xf1:'n',
        0xf2:'o', 0xf3:'o', 0xf4:'o', 0xf5:'o', 0xf6:'o', 0xf8:'o',
        0xf9:'u', 0xfa:'u', 0xfb:'u', 0xfc:'u',
        0xfd:'y', 0xfe:'th', 0xff:'y',
        0xa1:'!', 0xa2:'{cent}', 0xa3:'{pound}', 0xa4:'{currency}',
        0xa5:'{yen}', 0xa6:'|', 0xa7:'{section}', 0xa8:'{umlaut}',
        0xa9:'{C}', 0xaa:'{^a}', 0xab:'<<', 0xac:'{not}',
        0xad:'-', 0xae:'{R}', 0xaf:'_', 0xb0:'{degrees}',
        0xb1:'{+/-}', 0xb2:'{^2}', 0xb3:'{^3}', 0xb4:"'",
        0xb5:'{micro}', 0xb6:'{paragraph}', 0xb7:'*', 0xb8:'{cedilla}',
        0xb9:'{^1}', 0xba:'{^o}', 0xbb:'>>',
        0xbc:'{1/4}', 0xbd:'{1/2}', 0xbe:'{3/4}', 0xbf:'?',
        0xd7:'*', 0xf7:'/'

    r = ''
    for i in unicrap:
        if xlate.has_key(ord(i)):
            r += xlate[ord(i)]
        elif ord(i) >= 0x80:
            r += i
    return r

# This gives an example of how to use latin1_to_ascii().
# This creates a string will all the characters in the latin-1 character set
# then it converts the string to plain 7-bit ASCII.
if __name__ == '__main__':
    s = unicode('','latin-1')
    for c in range(32,256):
        if c != 0x7f:
            s = s + unicode(chr(c),'latin-1')
    print 'INPUT:'
    print s.encode('latin-1')
    print 'OUTPUT:'
    print latin1_to_ascii(s)

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