user1747683 user1747683 - 20 days ago 5
Python Question

How to convert unicode accented characters to pure ascii without accents?

I'm trying to download some content from a dictionary site like http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/apple?s=t

The problem I'm having is that the original paragraph has all those squiggly lines, and reverse letters, and such, so when I read the local files I end up with those funny escape characters like \x85, \xa7, \x8d, etc.

My question is, is there any way i can convert all those escape characters into their respective UTF-8 characters, eg if there is an 'à' how do i convert that into a standard 'a' ?

Python calling code:

import os
word = 'apple'
os.system(r'wget.lnk --directory-prefix=G:/projects/words/dictionary/urls/ --output-document=G:\projects\words\dictionary\urls/' + word + '-dict.html http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/' + word)


I'm using wget-1.11.4-1 on a Windows 7 system (don't kill me Linux people, it was a client requirement), and the wget exe is being fired off with a Python 2.6 script file.

Answer

how do i convert all those escape characters into their respective characters like if there is an unicode à, how do i convert that into a standard a?

Assume you have loaded your unicode into a variable called my_unicode... normalizing à into a is this simple...

import unicodedata
output = unicodedata.normalize('NFD', my_unicode).encode('ascii', 'ignore')

Explicit example...

>>> myfoo = u'àà'
>>> myfoo
u'\xe0\xe0'
>>> unicodedata.normalize('NFD', myfoo).encode('ascii', 'ignore')
'aa'
>>>