I'm trying to import file that contains Chinese characters into a table. File encoding is Big5 (Traditional).

Here is a sample file like one that I need to import: https://www.pastiebin.com/5d7782d9b63fa

Table where file has to be imported into has such a structure:

create table dbo.Test (
      AccountId   numeric(18, 0) not null
    , Province    nvarchar(50)       null
    , City        nvarchar(50)       collate Chinese_Hong_Kong_Stroke_90_CI_AI
    , Country     nvarchar(50)       null
    , Gender      nvarchar(50)       null

If I import using OPENROWSET/BULK then all the data is transferred correctly:

select AccountId, Province, City, Country, Gender
from openrowset (
      bulk 'C:\chinese_sample.dat'
    , firstrow = 1
    , formatfile = 'C:\chinese_sample.xml'
) t

Here is a format file that I use: https://www.pastiebin.com/5d7783396f9e4

enter image description here

But if I try to import file using SSIS, then Chinese characters are not parsed correctly.

In Flat File Source I use DataType string [DT_STR] and CodePage 950. Then convert it to Unicode string [DT_WSTR].

enter image description here

Here is how text is imported into table:

enter image description here

As we can see some characters are parsed correctly and some are not. What am I missing?

  • You've got your column types set to DT_STR and they should be DT_WSTR. You shouldn't need that data conversion task at all. Can you switch to UTF-8?
    – Jacob H
    Sep 10, 2019 at 12:31
  • As I specified in the beginning, file encoding is Big5 (Traditional). And it cannot be changed.
    – GriGrim
    Sep 10, 2019 at 12:38
  • If I switch all DT_STR data types to DT_WSTR, behaviour stays the same. City is still splitted between two columns.
    – GriGrim
    Sep 10, 2019 at 12:47

1 Answer 1


The problem appears to be that the lines that are not importing correctly have characters that, encoded in code page 950, having a trailing byte of 0x7C, which is valid, but also happens to be the pipe symbol, which you are using as a delimiter. For example:

                                      COLLATE Chinese_Hong_Kong_Stroke_90_CI_AI));
-- 0xA57C B77C

Each of those two characters has a trail-byte of 0x7C. The parser seems to be viewing that as a delimiter instead of part of a 2-byte sequence for a code page 950 character. This is why you get a "?" in both "City" and "Country" with the remaining input line in the "Gender" column. The "?" in those two columns is due to the lead bytes 0xA5 and 0xB7 not being valid on their own.

The next line has the same issue:

                              COLLATE Chinese_Hong_Kong_Stroke_90_CI_AI))
-- 0xA4B8 AED4 A46A A77C 7C

This time I kept the delimiter that comes at the end of the "City" value (so it would be clearer that the delimiter is the same byte value as the trail byte of that 4th character). The 4th character, , is encoded as 0xA77C in code page 950. This is why only the 4th character shows up as "?".

So, this might be a bug in SSIS. Or, perhaps it's a configuration issue. Is there a way to indicate that the entire file, not just this one column, is code page 950? Dealing with code pages on a column-by-column basis, in terms of a text file, makes no sense. The entire file is encoded as code page 950, not just that one column. If it's possible to change the delimiter that might help, but it most likely just delays the problem as any delimiter can be encoded as a valid trail-byte value for double-byte characters. Given that OPENROWSET works correctly, I have to believe that this also can (although you aren't setting the file's encoding for OPENROWSET, just the column, so this could still be an SSIS bug).

Please try the following to set the file's encoding within SSIS:

  1. Go to the Flat File Connection Manager Editor (General Page)
  2. Under "Code Page", enter in 950.
  3. Make sure that "Unicode" is not selected.

Also, check the "CITY" column under "Output Columns" and make sure that it is using "Standard Parse" and not "Fast Parse" (since "Fast Parse" is locale-insensitive).

  • 1
    For what it's worth, I can confirm that if you replace the pipe delimiters with commas or tabs, and save the entire file in Big5 format it does import correctly with DT_WSTR types (without any additional data conversion steps or functions). Also, adding double quotes as text qualifiers does appear to defeat the issue too.
    – Jacob H
    Sep 10, 2019 at 16:03
  • @JacobH Thanks for confirming. Can you please also test with DT_STR since the column is VARCHAR (8-bit, non-Unicode) in the text file? Also, I did not mention text qualifiers since I got the impression that the OP wouldn't be able to change the format of the source file. Changing the delimiter, on the other hand, is possible using a 3rd party tool to reformat the file (any search and replace of | into something else would work as long as the tool understands that the file is encoded as code page 950 and hence would not misread these 0x7C trail-bytes as being |). Sep 10, 2019 at 16:08
  • 1
    Right, good call. The file is non-unicode. And it does work with DT_STR, without additional data conversion.
    – Jacob H
    Sep 10, 2019 at 16:46
  • 1
    Yes, exactly. I can reproduce the original problem without the Data Conversion step.
    – Jacob H
    Sep 10, 2019 at 17:03
  • 1
    Yes, when I try to set the code page at the column level, it looks like it is being inherited and overwritten from the connection (i.e. set to 950). Which does make sense. I am not able to set the column code page property and have it "stick".
    – Jacob H
    Sep 10, 2019 at 17:24

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