Searching into a MySQL Database without bothering about accents

Hi, there is my problem :

I am making a search engine for my website, based on act_as_ferret.
Given that my website will be in many different languages, the content
of my database may have accents (or any other special character).
However, I do not want these accents to create a “distance” between
queries and exact results.

For example : if I type “systeme” in the search field, the word
“système” should come out as an exact result, instead of a “distant”
result (“é” and “e” being considered as two different letters)

One solution would be to add a “no-accent” field in my DataBase, but I
think this is quite a silly thing to do, and I wonder whether there is
or not a more “elegant” solution.

Thank you very much !