One of the projects I recently worked on was a public facing website on SharePoint 2013 Online/Office 365. One of the requirements of this site was multi-lingual content in English and French. I noticed that when the French content was added directly to the content of the SharePoint page, the character encoding worked just fine. We had all of the accents and everything you would expect for the French content. However, if the French translated content was put directly into the Master Page or Page Layout itself, it was not being rendered correctly. The accent characters were incorrect and all out of whack. My first suspicion was maybe it was because I just copied and pasted the content in there. So, I googled HTML Special Character Codes and tried using the special codes outlined.....Still no luck. Here's what ultimately solved my problem: I simply had to put this meta-tag in every one of my Master Pages or Page Layouts: I placed this directly under the ContentPlaceHolder tag in my Master Page and Page Layout and the encoding worked as expected. SharePoint automatically does this for you in the page content itself, however, if you have content directly in your Master Page's or Page Layouts, you have to put this meta-tag in their to force it to do the proper encoding.