When I save a figure to PDF in 2019a on Ubuntu 18.04 using the print() command and -painters renderer, using any kind of unicode character causes the font (Arial in this case) to change to some kind of default when the PDF is save.
It seems that that Matlab can see the font, but whatever Matlab calls in -painters to parse unicode characters does not see the font and reverts to using something else. It seems to be a problem restricted to -painters, because -opengl functions correctly, but that only prints to bitmap and I need -painters for the vector graphics.
I previously used Windows 7, and there was no problem there.
I have installed the Arial font on my Ubuntu system. It is at /usr/share/fonts/truetype/
Perhaps it should also be installed somewhere else, where -painters can also see it? I also added it to ~/.fonts and rebuilt the font cache but that doesn't seem to help. Although, other Linux fonts don't appear to work either.
title(['This is the title with unicode character',char(8240)],'Fontname','Arial')
print(gcf, '-dpdf', '-painters', 'testwith.pdf');
title(['This is the title without unicode character'],'Fontname','Arial')
print(gcf, '-dpdf', '-painters', 'testwithout.pdf');