In its most general form, a compiler is a program that accepts as input a program text in a certain language and produces as output a program text in another language, while preserving the meaning of that text. This process is called translation, as it would be if the texts were in natural languages. Almost all compilers translate from one input language, the source language, to one output language, the target language, only. One normally expects the source and target language to differ greatly: the source language could be C and the target language might be machine code for the Pentium processor series. The language the compiler itself is written in is the implementation language.
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