The "translators" (or "methods" in object-based terminology) are
programs which give other PI's a viewport into a data set. The program
both makes the data set visible to the outside world and shields outside
users from needing to know the details of where and how the data is stored.
These programs are responsible for
- receiving requests for subselections of the data
- gathering the requested information from the data set
- translating the information into the internal form used for
- sending the information through the communication line to the
process which made the request.
One translator may serve several different data sets -- the translators
depend on the format chosen by the PI, but generally not on the
information itself, though there can be exceptions.