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I had the same problem. I edit my text files in Text Edit but I couldn't find the text encoding option, so I opened the files in Smultron, which an open source app and is very straight forward, under the text menu > text encoding > utf 8... voilá!
Worked a treat!
if you use mac though, don't open the file in Text Edit afterwards, or it will break it, even if you close the file again without saving, the damage is done.
I decided to make Smultron my default text editing app, so I don't do it by mistake...