Computer Science 2210

High and Low Level Languages and Their Translators


High and Low Level Languages and Their Translators

High and Low-Level Languages and Their Translators


• In computer, the specific order of tasks that we ask the computer system to carry out is known as a program.

• It can be defined as the set of instructions to carry out specific tasks.

• It can be written in high-level and low-level languages depending upon the task and the type of computer to be used.

• However, high-level languages are most widely used for writing programs.

High-Level Languages:

• A high-level language is a language that enables a programmer to tell the computer the specific order of task by focusing on the problem itself.

• Using this language, the programmer does not need to know and worry about the instruction set of the computer and the hardware.

• It is portable and can be utilized in various types of computer systems.

• These languages have been developed by keeping the ease of programmers in mind, meaning that:
      - These languages are closer to human-understandable languages hence easier to understand.
      - It requires less time and difficulty to write programs as compared to low-level languages.
      - It is easier to debug.
      - It is easier to maintain.
      - These are program-oriented languages.


Low-Level Languages:

• Whereas a low-level language is related to a specific type of computer hardware and architecture.

• It can refer to the binary code that the computer understands, the machine code, or can be written in an assembly language that then translates into the machine code.

Assembly Languages:

• Some programmers prefer to write the program (set of instructions) in assembly language for the following reasons:
      - For utilizing special hardware
      - For utilizing specific machine-dependent instructions
      - To save space in primary storage as code is written in assembly language takes less space
      - To write a code that performs task quickly

• To add two number using assembly languages, the following three statements are required:

                  Source: (Computer Science by D. Watson & H. Williams

• LDA – It loads the value of the variable in the accumulator
• ADD – It adds the value of another variable to the accumulator with stored value
• STO – It replaces the value in the variable with the stored in the accumulator

Machine Code:

• Machine code is difficult to understand by programmers.

• Therefore, programmers to not write code in machine code generally.

• As it is difficult to manage storage and data manipulation.

• Following is an example of a machine code instruction for adding two numbers in hex and binary:

  Source: (Computer Science by D. Watson & H. Williams


• Programs are written in languages that are easily understandable by the programmers (humans).

• However, for the computer system to understand and perform the set of instructions given in the programs, the programs need to be translated into machine code or binary instructions.

• It is difficult for humans to work with binary but the computer system only understands it.

• Therefore, a translator is used to translate the programs into binary before the computer can use it.

                           Source: (Computer Science by D. Watson & H. Williams

Types of Translators:

• There are different types of translators available and each performs a different task.


• Compilers are translators that are used to translate HLL (High-Level Languages) into the machine code.

• Once instructions written in HLL are compiled into the machine code; it can be directly used by the computer system again and again without the need for recompilation.


• It is a type of translator that translates the instructions written in a high-level language (HLL) line by line.

• That is, it reads a statement from the program and translates it and performs the instructions.

• Once done, it moves to the next statement, translates, performs, and so on.


• It is a type of translator that converts the program written in assembly language into machine code.

• Once the program is converted into machine code, the machine code can be directly used by the computer repeatedly without the need for reassembly.

                   Source: (Computer Science by D. Watson & H. Williams

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