Language Translator in Computer and its Types?

👤 Diwas Poudel    🕒 Nov 27 2020    📁 Fix    📜 0 comment

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Computer Language Translator

Computer are electronic devices can only understand machine level binary code(0/1 or on/off) and it is very difficult to understand and write a program in machine language so, developers use human-understandable high level and assembly instructions. So, to solve this gap, a translator is used which is used to convert high-level instructions to machine level instruction (0 and 1).

The translator is a programming language processor that translates a program written in high level or assembly language program to machine-understandable low-level machine language without loosing the functionality of the code.


Purpose of Computer Language Translator

The main purpose of the translator is to make the machine understand the program written in a high-level language.

Types of Computer Language Translator

There are 3 types of computer language translators: They are:

  1. Compiler
  2. Interpreter
  3. Assembler 


The compiler is the language translator program that translates code written in a human-readable language like high-level language to low-level computer language either assembly language, machine code, or object code, and finally creates an executable program.

In the process of creating an executable file, the compiler goes into various phases like Lexical Analysis, Syntax Analysis, Semantic Analysis, Intermediate Representation(IR) Generation,(Intermediate Representation)IR Optimization, Code Generation, and Optimization.

In the process of compiling, the first code is sent to lexer which will scan the source code and split it into tokens and kept inside of computer memory, and send them to the parser where patterns are recognized and are converted into an AST (abstract syntax tree) which describes the data structure of the program representing then optimizer(if required) optimize away unused variable, unreachable code, roll back if possible, etc, then code generator converts to machine instruction code specific to the target platform and linker putting together all code into an executable program. Also, there is an error handler in all the phases which handles error and reports. 

Some of the well-known compilers are: Borland Turbo C, Javac, GNU compiler, Xcode, Roslyn, etc

Some common compiled languages are C++, C

Characteristics of Compiler

  • Source code is converted to machine code before runtime. So, code execution at runtime is faster.
  • Takes a lot of time to analyze and process the program. The compiling process is complicated.
  • But Program execution is Fast
  • Cannot create an executable program when there is a compile type error in the program.


The interpreter converts high-level language into machine level language, the compiler does the same things but its ways of converting are different from Compiler. In Interpreter, source code gets converted into machine code at run time. But in the compiler, code gets converted to machine code ie. an executable file before the program run.

The interpreter program executes directly line by line by running the source code. So, it takes the source code, one line at a time, and translates it and runs it by the processor, then moves to the next line, translates it and runs it, and repeats until the program finished.

Some of the popular interpreted languages are Php, Python, Javascript, Ruby

Characteristics of Interpreter

  • Spends less time converting to machine code.
  • No compilation stage is present in the interpreter while generating machine instructions.
  • Program execution is slower because it gets converted to machine code at runtime.
  • Easy for debugging and finding errors.


Assembler converts code written in assembly language into machine-level code. Assembly language contains machine opcode mnemonics so that assemblers translate from mnemonics to direct instruction in 1:1 relation.

As we know the computer understands machine code only but programming is difficult for developers in machine language. So, low-level assembly language(ASM) is designed for a specific processor family that represents different symbolic code instructions.

Characteristics of Assembler

  • As there is a 1:1 relationship exists between mnemonics to direct instruction so, translating is very fast.
  • It requires less amount of memory and execution time.
  • It does complex hardware-specific jobs in an easy way.
  • It is ideal for a time-critical job.

Different Between Compiler, Interpreter, and Assembler

Compiler Interpreter Assembler
It converts programs written in a high-level language into machine language before runtime It converts programs written in a high-level language into machine language at runtime. It converts the assembly language program into machine level language.
Used By: C, C++ Used By: Python, PHP, Ruby, PostScript, LISP, VB Used By: GNU, GAS
Compiled code runs faster but compiling time may take a longer time. For every time, the interpreter translates every time code is run so it is slower.
Runs fast as the translating of two low-level languages depends on the processor instructions set only.


Compiler vs Interpreter

Compiler Interpreter
Translate High-level language program into machine code before runtime Translate High-level language program into machine code at runtime
The compiler needs lot of time for the whole source code to be analyzed
It takes less time for the source code to analyze
The overall program execution time is relatively faster.
Overall program execution time is relatively slower.
The compiler only generates an error message only after scanning the whole program. And all the errors are shown at the same time.
Interpreter only shows one error at a time and if solved and again after interpreting the code then shows the next error if exists. 
Debugging is relatively more difficult since there can be an error anywhere in the code.
It is easier to debug since it continues to translate the program until the error is fixed. Show only one error at a time, and if solved then shows next error if exists.
The compiler generates intermediate code.
The interpreter does not generate intermediate code.
The compiler compiles the code before execution.
Compilation and execution take place simultaneously.
Memory requirements are more because time is required for the creation of intermediate object code. This intermediate object code resides in memory.
Requires less memory as it does not create intermediate object code.
Difficult error detection and removal
Easy for error detection and removal
The programming language that uses Compiler: C, C++, Java,C#,Scala
The programming language that uses Interpreter: Python, Perl,Ruby,PHP
Compilers software are larger in size.
The interpreter software is generally smaller in size.
Focus on compile once, run anytime
Focus on compile every time.
The program doesn't run until all the error is fixed.
A program runs the code and stops only when an error is found.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Is Assembly Language Portal? 
Ans: No, the assembly languages are not portable since they are tied to specific computer architecture.A program written and developed in one assembly language should be rewritten to run on another machine.
2) Which type of language is Assembly Language?
Ans: Assembly Language (ASM) is a low-level programming language.
3) How is an interpreter slower than a compiler?
Ans: Interpreting code is slower than compiled code.
In compiler Case: When the program is successfully compiled, an object code file is created. This object code file is now executed. So, Unless we modify the source code, there is no need for recompilation. And directly execute from compiled code which seems to be faster because it is near to machine level language.
In interpreter Case: Every time we want to run a program, it is interpreted again and again.So, at runtime only code is translated to machine level language.
4) What is the difference between compilation and execution?
Ans: Compilation happens before execution in the compiling process. Source code gets compiled and produced execution file (like. dll and .exe ) file and this file gets executed at runtime. Compiler interacts with OS memory manager to perform compilation. Execution is done by the processor at the time of program execution.
5) What is the first stage of the compilation process?
Ans: Lexical Analysis is the first stage of the compilation process.
6) How many parts of the compiler are there?

Ans: Compiler has 3 important parts.

  • FrontEnd
  • Middle End
  • BackEnd
7)Is linker parts of the compiler?

Ans: Some have distinct linkers and some do not. The linker is one of the important parts of the compiler which combines object code files and static file and produce an executable file.

8) What is Common Intermediate Language(CIL)?

Ans: All the application that is targeting .net framework is compiled first to Intermediate language called CIL, which is machine independent language and only at the run time those intermediate languages gets converted to native machine code.

The intermediate language in the Java environment is bytecode.

9) Is Java Compiled Language?

Ans: There are two steps in the Java compilation process. At first source code is converted to byte code by the compiler and at runtime that byte code is verified by byte verifier and it decides it may compile and/or interpret the bytecode using the Java Interpreter/JIT Compiler.(source:stackoverflow)