Computer Language Translator and its Types

Translator is a computer program that translates program written in a given programming language into a functionally equivalent program in a different language.

Depending on the translator, this may involve changing or simplifying the program flow without losing the essence of the program, thereby producing a functionally equivalent program.

Types of Language Translator

There are mainly three Types of translators which are used to translate different programming languages into machine equivalent code:

  1. Assembler
  2. Compiler
  3. Interpreter


An assembler translates assembly language into machine code.

Assembly language consists of Mnemonics for machine Op-codes, so assemblers perform a 1:1 translation from mnemonic to a direct instruction. For example, LDA #4 converts to 0001001000100100.

Conversely, one instruction in a high level language will translate to one or more instructions at machine level.

Advantages of using Assembler

Here are list of advantages of using assembler:

  • Very fast in translating assembly language to machine code as 1 to 1 relationship
  • Assembly code is often very efficient (and therefore fast) because it is a low level language
  • Assembly code is fairly easy to understand due to the use of English like in Mnemonics

Disadvantages of using Assembler

Assembly language is written for a certain instruction set and/or processor.

Assembly tends to be optimised for the hardware it is designed for, meaning it is often incompatible with different hardware.

Lots of assembly code is needed to do relatively simple task, and complex programs require lots of programming time compiler.


Compiler is a computer program that translates code written in a high level language to a low level language, object/machine code.

The most common reason for translating source code is to create an executable program (converting from high level language into machine language).

Advantages of using Compiler

Below are the list of advantages of using compiler:

  • Source code is not included, therefore compiled code is more secure than interpreted code.
  • Tends to produce faster code and interpreting source code.
  • Producers and executable file, and therefore the program can be run without need of the source code.

Disadvantages of using Compiler

Below are the list of disadvantage of using compiler:

  • Object code needs to be produced before A final executable file, this can be a slow process.
  • The source code Must Be 100% correct for the executable file to be produced.


An interpreter program execute other programs directly, running through program code and executing it line-by-line. As it analyses every line, an interpreter is slower than running compiled code but it can take less time to interpret program code than to compile and then run it. This is very useful when prototyping and testing code.

Interpreters are written for multiple platforms, this means code written once can be run immediately on different systems without having to recompile for each. Examples of this include flash based web programs that will run on your PC, Mac, games console and mobile phone.

Advantages of using Interpreter

Here are the list of some main advantages of using an interpreter:

  • Easier to debug (check errors) than a compiler.
  • Easier to create multi-platform code, as each different platform would have an interpreter to run the same code.
  • Useful for prototyping software and testing basic program logic.

Disadvantages of using Interpreter

And here are the list of some main disadvantages of using an interpreter:

  • Source code is required for the program to be executed, and this source code can be read making it insecure.
  • Interpreters are generally slower than compiled programs due to the per-line translation method.

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