Quickstart: Look up words with bilingual dictionary using C#

In this quickstart, you'll learn how to get alternate translations for a term, and also usage examples of those alternate translations, using .NET Core and the Translator Text API.

This quickstart requires an Azure Cognitive Services account with a Translator Text resource. If you don't have an account, you can use the free trial to get a subscription key.


Create a .NET Core project

Open a new command prompt (or terminal session) and run these commands:

dotnet new console -o alternate-sample
cd alternate-sample

The first command does two things. It creates a new .NET console application, and creates a directory named alternate-sample. The second command changes to the directory for your project.

Next, you'll need to install Json.Net. From your project's directory, run:

dotnet add package Newtonsoft.Json --version 11.0.2

Add required namespaces to your project

The dotnet new console command that you ran earlier created a project, including Program.cs. This file is where you'll put your application code. Open Program.cs, and replace the existing using statements. These statements ensure that you have access to all the types required to build and run the sample app.

using System;
using System.Net.Http;
using System.Text;
using Newtonsoft.Json;

Create a function to get alternate translations

Within the Program class, create a function called AltTranslation. This class encapsulates the code used to call the Dictionary resource and prints the result to console.

static void AltTranslation()
   * The code for your call to the translation service will be added to this
   * function in the next few sections.

Set the subscription key, host name, and path

Add these lines to the AltTranslation function. You'll notice that along with the api-version, two additional parameters have been appended to the route. These parameters are used to set the translation input and output. In this sample, these are English (en) and Spanish (es).

string host = "https://api.cognitive.microsofttranslator.com";
string route = "/dictionary/lookup?api-version=3.0&from=en&to=es";
string subscriptionKey = "YOUR_SUBSCRIPTION_KEY";

Next, we need to create and serialize the JSON object that includes the text you want to translate. Keep in mind, you can pass more than one object in the body array.

System.Object[] body = new System.Object[] { new { Text = @"Elephants" } };
var requestBody = JsonConvert.SerializeObject(body);

Instantiate the client and make a request

These lines instantiate the HttpClient and the HttpRequestMessage:

using (var client = new HttpClient())
using (var request = new HttpRequestMessage())
  // In the next few sections you'll add code to construct the request.

Construct the request and print the response

Inside the HttpRequestMessage you'll:

  • Declare the HTTP method
  • Construct the request URI
  • Insert the request body (serialized JSON object)
  • Add required headers
  • Make an asynchronous request
  • Print the response

Add this code to the HttpRequestMessage:

// Set the method to POST
request.Method = HttpMethod.Post;

// Construct the full URI
request.RequestUri = new Uri(host + route);

// Add the serialized JSON object to your request
request.Content = new StringContent(requestBody, Encoding.UTF8, "application/json");

// Add the authorization header
request.Headers.Add("Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key", subscriptionKey);

// Send request, get response
var response = client.SendAsync(request).Result;
var jsonResponse = response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync().Result;

// Print the response
Console.WriteLine("Press any key to continue.");

Add PrettyPrint to add formatting to your JSON response:

static string PrettyPrint(string s)
    return JsonConvert.SerializeObject(JsonConvert.DeserializeObject(s), Formatting.Indented);

If you are using a Cognitive Services multi-service subscription, you must also include the Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Region in your request parameters. Learn more about authenticating with the multi-service subscription.

Put it all together

The last step is to call AltTranslation() in the Main function. Locate static void Main(string[] args) and add these lines:


Run the sample app

That's it, you're ready to run your sample app. From the command line (or terminal session), navigate to your project directory and run:

dotnet run

Sample response

        "displaySource": "elephants",
        "normalizedSource": "elephants",
        "translations": [
                "backTranslations": [
                        "displayText": "elephants",
                        "frequencyCount": 1207,
                        "normalizedText": "elephants",
                        "numExamples": 5
                "confidence": 1.0,
                "displayTarget": "elefantes",
                "normalizedTarget": "elefantes",
                "posTag": "NOUN",
                "prefixWord": ""

Clean up resources

Make sure to remove any confidential information from your sample app's source code, like subscription keys.

Next steps

Explore the sample code for this quickstart and others, including transliteration and language identification, as well as other sample Translator Text projects on GitHub.

See also