People love irssi. Why wouldn’t they? It’s the best irc client in the world.
The problem is that not every company runs Linux powered computers, not every employer allows you to install an irc client on your pc at work.
But you as a geek of course always carry around your USB-flashdrive with the latest version of putty to play nethack and/or to connect to your irssi at home via ssh. The only problem you got is that you can’t get utf-8 characters to work and from what I heard a lot of people are having those problems.
Accents, umlauts or even kanji aren’t going to be displayed using the wrong configuration. That they’re displayed for you on the other side doesn’t mean that you’re outgoing text is encoded correctly and that other people are able to see what you wrote.
The first step is to set putty to use the utf-8 encoding. Open putty’s configuration and go to Window -> Translation and set the encoding to utf-8.
Next step is to set up irssi. Use the following commands:
/set term_charset UTF-8 /set recode_autodetect_utf8 ON /set recode_fallback UTF-8 /set recode ON /set recode_out_default_charset UTF-8 /set recode_transliterate ON