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English Dictionary: interpreter by the DICT Development Group
3 results for interpreter
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
  1. someone who mediates between speakers of different languages
    Synonym(s): interpreter, translator
  2. someone who uses art to represent something; "his paintings reveal a sensitive interpreter of nature"; "she was famous as an interpreter of Shakespearean roles"
  3. an advocate who represents someone else's policy or purpose; "the meeting was attended by spokespersons for all the major organs of government"
    Synonym(s): spokesperson, interpreter, representative, voice
  4. (computer science) a program that translates and executes source language statements one line at a time
    Synonym(s): interpreter, interpretive program
From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:
   Interpreter \In*ter"pret*er\, n. [Cf. OF. entrepreteur, L.
      One who or that which interprets, explains, or expounds; a
      translator; especially, a person who translates orally
      between two parties.
               We think most men's actions to be the interpreters of
               their thoughts.                                       --Locke.

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (15Feb98) [foldoc]:
      A program which executes other programs.   This
      is in contrast to a {compiler} which does not execute its
      input program (the "{source code}") but translates it into
      executable "{machine code}" (also called "{object code}")
      which is output to a file for later execution.   It may be
      possible to execute the same source code either directly by an
      interpreter or by compiling it and then executing the {machine
      code} produced.
      It takes longer to run a program under an interpreter than to
      run the compiled code but it can take less time to interpret
      it than the total required to compile and run it.   This is
      especially important when prototyping and testing code when an
      edit-interpret-debug cycle can often be much shorter than an
      edit-compile-run-debug cycle.
      Interpreting code is slower than running the compiled code
      because the interpreter must analyse each statement in the
      program each time it is executed and then perform the desired
      action whereas the compiled code just performs the action.
      This run-time analysis is known as "interpretive overhead".
      Access to variables is also slower in an interpreter because
      the mapping of identifiers to storage locations must be done
      repeatedly at run time rather than at compile time.
      There are various compromises between the development speed
      when using an interpreter and the execution speed when using a
      compiler.   Some systems (e.g. some {Lisp}s) allow interpreted
      and compiled code to call each other and to share variables.
      This means that once a routine has been tested and debugged
      under the interpreter it can be compiled and thus benefit from
      faster execution while other routines are being developed.
      Many interpreters do not execute the source code as it stands
      but convert it into some more compact internal form.   For
      example, some {BASIC} interpreters replace {keywords} with
      single byte tokens which can be used to {index} into a {jump
      table}.   An interpreter might well use the same {lexical
      analyser} and {parser} as the compiler and then interpret the
      resulting {abstract syntax tree}.
      There is thus a spectrum of possibilities between interpreting
      and compiling, depending on the amount of analysis performed
      before the program is executed.   For example {Emacs Lisp} is
      compiled to "{byte-code}" which is a highly compressed and
      optimised representation of the Lisp source but is not machine
      code (and therefore not tied to any particular hardware).
      This "compiled" code is then executed (interpreted) by a {byte
      code interpreter} (itself written in {C}).   The compiled code
      in this case is {machine code} for a {virtual machine} which
      is implemented not in hardware but in the byte-code
      See also {partial evaluation}.
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
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