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The Kamusi Project creates dictionaries, terminology glossaries, and learning tools for African languages based on two principles:
Producing our data is expensive, because our partners need to be compensated for their time. Distributing our data is also expensive, especially the cost of keeping our programming up-to-date with emerging technologies and new developments. Computer equipment and software, servers to handle millions of queries a month, training of partners in the use of our system, communications – all of these things are essential for the project to maintain and expand its resources. And yet, we give away everything we produce, to anyone, for free.
We have implemented a number of methods of generating income:
Together, these efforts generate enough to keep the servers running, but no more. Because the project does not earn revenue from what it produces, the business model depends on support for the production work itself. We have a clear sense of the costs involved in creating entries for a dictionary or a technical glossary. Most of these are one-time expenses. For example, creating 10,000 dictionary entries for the most common words in a particular language costs approximately $40,000:
|Set up costs for data model, training in software, and travel expenses||$10,000|
|$2/term for the lexical work on a single entry||$20,000|
|$1/term for integrating an entry within PALDO||$10,000|
(Sample project timeline above)
Once we have the data in the system – that is, a permanent resource for a language, available to the public for free – ongoing expenses for disseminating and updating that data are low. The challenge, from a business perspective, is finding parties interested in funding the various components that constitute the Kamusi Project vision.
A combination of four types of support can sustain the project:
By seeking funding partners who can recognize the value of what we create, and invest in its realization, the Kamusi Project can cover the costs of the necessary work as we move steadily toward the goal of providing the public with every word in Africa, for free.