I have had similar issues with other languages, and resolved them in the same manner in which you described, which is basically replacing text with the exact same text. All that we can figure out is that somehow either some sort of unprintable character was added to the string, or the metadata regarding the string within the database was corrupted. It is immensely frustrating trying to chase down an error like that only to fix it by replacing it with what appears to be an identical copy.
I feel your pain.
EDIT: No suggestions, just a wee bit of sympathy.
Edited by groovy2, 11 October 2006 - 11:16 AM.