The present invention discloses a system for transcoding character sets between Internet hosts and thin client devices over data networks. A proxy server is provided as an intermediary between the Internet hosts and the thin client devices, and is informed when a specific character set is preferred by the client device. The client character set preference is communicated to the proxy server prior to the client receiving information from an Internet host. When a communication session is established between one of the Internet hosts and one of the thin client devices, the proxy server performs the character set transcoding if the character sets of the Internet host and the client device are not the same. Apart from any existing techniques, the proxy server handles the task of character set transcoding so as to alleviate the mobile computing devices from performing the transcoding locally.