What program are you using to create the .csv?
Used to work with MS Excell 2010. I just installed Open Office, created a .csv encoded as UTF (not UTF8) and it worked like a charm!!! Thanks for replying.
@PocoLoco – I'm not using CSV files for data merge very much.
Instead I use tab delimited txt files encoded with Unicode (UTF-16) out of my TextEdit app on OSX 10.6.8. That is working very well for all the special cases (Chinese, umlauts, composite characters in file names etc.pp.)…
Don't know about Illustrator in this case.
I'm always using InDesign for data merge.