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With computer programming, interpreted or an interpreted language refers to a language that does not need to be compiled before it is executed. However, because the script or program is not compiled, it requires an interpreter to run. For example, the file "myfile.cgi" could contain Perl code to run on a computer and if Perl was installed it would be used as the interpreter to run the script. However, without Perl being installed it would not be able to be understood or run by the computer.

An interpreter takes the script or program code and modifies it in such a way that it can be understood and the executed by the computer. Below are some examples of interpreted programming languages.

Examples of interpreted programming languages

Tip: In the example of JavaScript, your Internet browser is the interpreter.

Interpreted string

With a string in computer programming or on the command line, an interpreted string is a string that interprets variables, special characters, and other functions within a string. For example, in the below Perl code the $name variable is assigned "Nathan" and the first print using a single quote is treated as a literal string, which means it would print "Hello $name". However, the second print with double quotes is an interpreted string and would print "Hello Nathan" to the screen.

use strict;
my $name = "Nathan";
print 'Hello $name';
print "Hello $name";

Also see: Compiled, Literal string, Programming terms