Not sure why that code I posted isn't working but I tested this by itself and it works for me. http://pastebin.com/m36083f0f
I can send and display utf-8 characters just fine in mirc.
I didn't really test the snippet that posted before, but the new link should work. I also checked that utf-8 was on for all windows.
turned that on and it didn't seem to do anything
Thanks for all help.
Well my suspensions were correct. Google is at fault here, well at least they seem to use some weird characters. Babblefish seems to have encoded utf-8 when I looked at the source for a page with a translation on it. So doing $utfdecode() on the result from Babblefish yields the japansese text. This is really a bummer since google has an auto-detect feature which is quite handy.
Well it might not be completely google, saving a webpage and having the sockread write out a file. They turn out differently. So maybe the sockread just doesn't handle utf-8 that well.
Since I can't give up on something like this I might try getting something else like a cmd line app to save the webpage then parse that out.