I am looking for a word that describes both of these activities, however the word coding does not seem to be suitable.

Likewise with encryption and decryption, cryption does not work well.

  • It's worth noting that, for practical purposes, a person who encodes/decodes digital information is often professionally called an archivist and refers to his work as archival.
    – HaL
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 16:09
  • Related: Word for encoder-decoder
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 16:34
  • Where would we be without you, @Reg? (knee-deep in unclosed duplicates, I suspect! :) Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 22:58
  • I agree this duplicates the related question (which asks for one "word [for] encoder and decoder functionality"). Note, the answer there correctly identifies a device that does both but doesn't answer the question asked. Should merge questions? Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 16:55
  • This question is looking for a verb, the other for a noun. So they are different. There is not really a verb for "codec" or "endec", or none has been proposed so far. And no, the verb "to code" has its own meaning and is not the verb form of "codec".
    – donquixote
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 5:40

5 Answers 5



is the study of encryption and decryption.


is software/hardware that does both encoding and decoding.

  • 3
    Cryptography is the study of passing information without a third party being able to receive it. It wouldn't apply to encoding/decoding mp3s, for example.
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 18:21
  • 4
    Codec is defined as the library describing the way to encode and decode a format. This answer is wrong. Cryptography doesn't relate to the ACTION of encrypting or decrypting, so the extra info you added is also wrong. Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 20:27
  • @NathanC.Tresch This answer accepted as codec is the word i was looking for. Debate about crypography TBC.
    – user24296
    Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 6:41
Encode means : "To translate information into code"
Decode means : "To translate code into information"

Therefore translate would be used to describe them both.

Since translate may seem vague I would suggest some synonyms: transcribe, transpose, or convert.


Would transcoding be suitable in your context ?

  • Unfortunately the parallel construction of "transcryption" just looks like a misspelling of "transcription", which means something quite different. :/
    – Marthaª
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 16:00
  • 5
    Ooh. I like transcryption. I shall find somewhere to use that and then shower disdain on those who attempt to correct it.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 16:09
  • 1
    "encode" and "decode" mean to translate between a logical form and a storable / serialized / encrypted form of information. "transcode" means to translate between two different encoded forms of information. A transcoder usually decodes and then encodes again, in a different format. A "codec", on the other hand, translates between a decoded and an encoded format, in both directions. So it is not quite the same.
    – donquixote
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 5:54

How about pure and simple “processing”?


Why does everyone and OP have a problem with "coding". This is the correct term for encoding and decoding. For example, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coding_theory

  • 6
    Possibly because in a programming context it can cover almost everything we do. It becomes generic to the point of uselessness.
    – user24296
    Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 6:38
  • @NWS: The coding of a channel vs. the process of coding a program is not likely to be confused from context. The subjects aren't even of the same type (abstract idea vs. person) Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 15:54
  • 2
    In software development, it is desirable for a name to convey most of its meaning without much context, since we often work with portions of source code without examining the full context.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 1:32

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