Difference between Compiler and Interpreter

 Difference between Compiler and Interpreter with example 


When discussing programming languages, two often used terms are "compiler" and "interpreter." These are critical tools for converting human-readable code into machine-readable instructions. While both serve the same objective of interpreting code, they are fundamentally different. In this blog, we will look at the differences between compilers and interpreters, as well as provide examples to demonstrate their functionality.

Difference between Compiler and Interpreter

What is Compiler?

A compiler is a piece of software that converts high-level programming language source code into machine code, also referred to as object code. The static translation is used, which involves analysing the whole source code and producing executable files that may be used independently. Lexical analysis, syntactic analysis, semantic analysis, code optimisation, and code production comprise the many steps of compilation.


Consider the following C programme, which computes the sum of two numbers:

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
   int j = 55;
   int k = 10;
   int sum = j + k;

   printf("The sum is: %d", sum);

   return 0;

To compile this programme with a C compiler (such as GCC), use the following command in the terminal:

gcc program.c -o program

The compiler runs through the full source code and produces an executable file called "programme." This file may then be run separately, with the result "The sum is: 65."

What is Interpreter?

A piece of software known as an interpreter reads code line by line, interpreting and carrying out each command as it goes. An interpreter reads the source code directly without producing a separate executable file, as contrast to a compiler that produces machine code as a separate executable file. Processing the code, running it, and instantly producing the output are all parts of the interpretation process.


Consider the following straightforward Python script that produces a greeting:

name = "Master Tech"
print("Hello, " + name + "!")

To run this script using the Python interpreter, use the following command in the terminal:

python script.py

Without producing an intermediary executable file, the interpreter reads the code line by line, executes it, and outputs "Hello, Master Tech!" directly.

Key Differences

Translation Process:

The main distinction between compilers and interpreters is found in their translation procedures. Before execution, a compiler converts the complete source code into machine code, whereas an interpreter understands and executes the code line by line in real time.


A compiled programme may be run as a standalone executable file, but an interpreted programme requires the use of an interpreter to run the code.


Because the compilation process optimises the code ahead of time, compiled software are frequently faster than interpreted ones. In contrast, each line of code executed in an interpreted programme costs something.

Error Handling:

Compilers find issues throughout the whole code during compilation and produce a list of errors. Real-time problem detection by interpreters results in execution interruptions and complete error information.


Interpreted programmes are more portable since they rely on the availability of the interpreter for each platform. Compiled programmes are less portable since they must be recompiled for each target platform.


In conclusion, compilers and interpreters use different approaches to interpreting and executing source code. Compilers produce machine code ahead of time, which results in speedier execution and optimised binaries. Interpreters, on the other hand, translate and execute code line by line, allowing for improved error handling and portability. The decision between compilers and interpreters is influenced by factors such as performance demands, development environment, and target platform. Understanding these characteristics enables developers to make educated choices when it comes to programming languages and execution strategies.

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