Question Marks or Spaces Appear Incorrectly in Ship To Address

Explains why you may see question marks print on labels when non-roman/Unicode characters have imported for the order, and steps to take to resolve.

The Issue

There are question marks (???) and/or blank spaces in the Ship To address on the printed shipping label, causing the address to be incorrect.

Example international label with question mark printed in address in place of non-Roman character.

The Reason

Unicode character encoding: Unicode is a character encoding system used to represent a large number of characters and symbols for different languages such as Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Cyrillic, and many more.

  • The shipping carrier's API does not support Unicode

    Many carriers in the countries where ShipStation operates (such as FedEx and UPS) require that the full Ship To address, including the full country name, is entered using Roman characters. This is because the shipping carrier's API does not support or recognize Unicode characters.

    When the shipping carrier encounters Unicode characters it does not support, it replaces those characters with question marks (???) or spaces when creating the shipping label.

  • Not all Printers Support Unicode

    Many printers do not support Unicode characters. When the printer encounters characters it does not support, it replaces the characters with question marks (???), spaces, or other symbols or error messages.

What to Do

Translate the address into English by either requesting it from your customer or using a program like Google Translate. Then, update the address in ShipStation to the English translation.