Difference Between Compiler and Interpreter

By Aina Parasher|Updated : October 6th, 2022

The Difference between Compiler and Interpreter is that in the compiler, the codes run on the compiler are comparatively faster whereas in Interpreter the codes run on the interpreter are comparatively slower. 
Most computer programs are written in high-level languages that humans can understand. They contain words and phrases from commonly used languages. However, computers cannot comprehend high-level languages in the same way humans do. They can only comprehend programs written in binary systems, sometimes machine code. Therefore, we write a program in a high-level language (source code), then translate it to machine language and make it usable by computers with the help of a compiler and interpreter. 

Further, let us look at the difference between compiler and interpreter, along with a brief introduction to compilers and interpreters. Both programs translate source code (high-level language) to machine code (the computers can understand them). 

Difference Between Compiler and Interpreter

A computer program is usually written in a high-level language (source code) which is further converted into machine language using compilers and interpreters. Compiler and interpreter are important topics in the GATE CSE syllabus.

Key Differences Between Compiler and Interpreter

The compiler examines the entire program and converts it all at once into machine code.The interpreter only converts one statement at a time into machine code.
Because the compiler reads the code all at once, any errors (if any) are displayed at the conclusion.Errors in the interpreter are displayed line by line since it reads code one line at a time.
In the case of compilers, the program code is already translated into machine code, so the code execution time is significantly reduced.Even for a beginner, interpreters are simple to use and perform.
The compilation and the execution of the program can be separated. As a result, you can only do it once you've finished compiling the complete output.The program's execution is one of the phases in the interpretation process. As a result, you may do it line by line.
While compiling, a compiler displays all errors and warnings. As a result, you won't be able to execute this software until you correct the issues.An interpreter reads each sentence and shows them if any problems are found. To comprehend the next line, the user must correct these inaccuracies.
Compilers are used Java, Scala, C#, C, and C++.Interpreters have used Perl, Ruby, and PHP.

How Do Compiler and Interpreter Work?

A compiler will check to see whether all language statements are valid. It will provide an error notice if it comes across something that is wrong. The compiler will transform the source code into machine code if no mistakes are found. The compiler assembles the various code files into executable programs, such as exe. Finally, the program is launched.

An interpreter creates the program. It does not create machine code or connect files. Interpreters are important as per the GATE exam. During the program's execution, the source statements are implemented line by line.

What is a Compiler?

A compiler is computer software that converts high-level programming languages (source code) into a machine-readable format known as low-level programming languages (machine code). It reads the entire source code, compiles it, and then turns it into an executable file, which the user performs or runs for the command designed to be carried out. And, if there are any faults, it returns them all at once while reading the source code.

It is quicker than the interpreter since the source code has already been built, and we simply need to run the executable file that has been created. The compiler generates secure executable files that may be run on any of your customers or other computers without the requirement for actual source code. As a result, your software is unhackable, safe, and private. For running the shared executable file of your source code, your client or anybody else does not require the installation of any compiler, interpreter, or third-party application on their machine.

What is an Interpreter?

Interpreters, like compilers, perform the same function. It can also convert high-level languages to low-level ones. However, unlike a compiler, an interpreter analyses the source code line by line and informs you if there is a mistake simultaneously, making it easier to debug but slower than a compiler.

We directly share the source code in interpreted languages, which may run on any machine without system incompatibility issues. Code analysis is easier with interpreters since they read the code line by line and return the error message immediately. In addition, if the client has access to the source code, they may quickly debug or alter it. Interpreters, unlike compilers, do not create new distinct files. So it doesn't take up any more memory. The execution control interpreter reads code line by line, allowing you to pause and alter the code at any time.

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FAQs on Difference Between Compiler and Interpreter

  • The major difference between a compiler and an interpreter is that a compiler takes the entire program in one go while an interpreter, takes a single line at a time. The compilers are responsible for generating intermediate machine codes while no intermediate machine codes are ever generated by the interpreters.

  • Both compiler and interpreter are programs that convert the source code (high-level language) into machine language (which the computer can understand).

  • A lot of programming languages use compilers and interpreters. Generally, compilers are used by Java, Scala, C#, C, and C++. However, interpreters are used by Perl, Ruby, and PHP.

  • There is a running time difference between a compiler and an interpreter such that, compiled codes run comparatively faster. However, interpreted codes run comparatively slower.

  • The difference between the memory requirement of a compiler and an interpreter is as follows:

    • The programs in a compiler execute independently and do not require memory.
    • At the time of interpretation, the interpreter resides in the memory.

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