I've got Oracle XE installed on Debian linux and the character set is configured to AL32UTF8. There are several client applications that connects to a database from Windows with the different locales - French etc, not English. That's ok with all the client data these applications put into database, nothing converted and text data in French represents correctly.

But texts in audit tables looks like '??????' if contains any not-english character. I suppose this is because audit records go to database in the different locale and it's not dependent on the client's globalization/locale settings.

How this globalization issue can be fixed? thanks!

  • What are you looking at the audit tables with? What's that tool's locale set to?
    – pjz
    Jun 4, 2009 at 14:56
  • The user names (windows domain user names) are invalid in SYS.AUD$ and look like '?????'. If the user name contains only English characters it's ok, otherwise the whole name converted into '????'-alike strings. Jun 4, 2009 at 15:43
  • I'm trying to login remotely to the Oracle using not-english windows user name, not using any 3rd party application, and got the same result - user is audited as '????' in SYS.AUD$ Jun 4, 2009 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


The likely option is the the audit data is saved correctly in French, but YOUR client doesn't support it, so your Oracle client translate French letters to ???? for you.

  1. What is the NLS_LANG of your client / environment? (for example, from your environment)
  2. In order to check if the data is stored correctly in sys.aud$ table, run:

SELECT username, ascii(username) from DBA_AUDIT_TRAIL; --optionally with a WHERE clause to limit it to a few suspected rows

If all the ??? characters have the same ascii code, Oracle stores ???. If every ??? has a different ascii code, Oracle stores French letters and you client NLS_LANG configuration does not support French letters.

I hope that helps you troubleshooting it...

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