Translator : Interpreter


Computers can understand instructions only when they are written in their own language – the machine language . Therefore, a program written in any other language should be translated into machine language. The software that ―translates‖ the instructions of different languages is known as translators


There are two types of translators. They are compilers and Interpreters



A Compiler checks the entire user – written program (known as the source program) and if it is error free, produces a complete program in machine language (known as object program).

The source program is retained for possible modifications and corrections and the object program is loaded into the computer for execution. If the source program contains errors, the compilers produce a list of errors at the end of the execution of the program.

i.e a compiler translates the whole program before execution.



An interpreter does a similar job but in a different style. The interpreter translates one statement at a time and if it is error – free, executes. This continues till the last statement.

Thus an interpreter translates or executes the first instruction before it goes to the second, while a compiler translates the whole program before execution


The major difference between compiler and interpreter is

1. Error correction is very much simpler in the case of interpreter as it translates the statements in stages. The compiler produces an error list of the entire program at the end.

2. Interpreter takes more time for the execution of the program compared to compilers as it translates one statement at a time







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