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We have developed a comprehensive approach to producing terminology sets for any domain, for any language. Our terminology efforts are based on two premises:

  1. Communicating with 👪 people in their own language requires much less effort, and will be much more effective, than willing them to communicate in a foreign language that few understand. Put starkly, if HIV/AIDS messages are not understandable to a vulnerable person such as a sex worker or an adolescent, the opportunity to prevent transmission to that person is lost forever.
  2. Every language has the capacity for full communication in any domain, provided key principles are followed for terminology development. For example, twenty years ago English did not have ICT terms for 🕸 "web" or "browser," yet the productive capacities of the language were employed so that today most English speakers 👪🔊 understand exactly what is meant by that terminology.
Kamusi has created a unique participatory methodology for terminology development that maximizes the likelihood that a term set will be accepted and used by a language community. By using a combination of paid experts and community volunteers, the costs of this work are kept to a minimum.
  1. Subject specialists with expertise in a language are engaged for a preliminary translation of a domain-specific terminology set.
  2. The specialists are encouraged to leave ❓ question marks or multiple choices in cases of uncertainty.
  3. Then members of the public are invited to comment on the problem terms, cast non-binding votes for existing proposals, and propose their own suggestions or new ways of looking at a concept. For example, a Swahili ICT community member solved the problematic term "cache" by suggesting it be viewed as "temporary storage" rather than the English metaphor of a hiding place.
  4. While the experts are still called upon to make the final decision, this democratized input and review process results in term sets that are much more likely to have universal uptake than the traditional top-down approach to terminology development.
One recent example of Kamusi’s work is an IDRC-sponsored effort by the African Network for Localization to produce a glossary of information technology terms for 10 African languages. This provides translations and definitions across all 10 languages of 2500 terms, from “absolute path” to “zoom out.” This glossary is now central to software development projects in those languages.

We are seeking partners in development and humanitarian aid, to build language resources that will permanently improve the communications environment of those agencies. If terminology issues can be identified and addressed up front in the planning stage of a programme, the community interaction will be improved, as will the effectiveness of local agency staff. /info/terminology

Kamusi GOLD

These are the languages for which we have datasets that we are actively working toward putting online. Languages that are Active for you to search are marked with "A" in the list below.


•A = Active language, aligned and searchable
•c = Data 🔢 elicited through the Comparative African Word List
•d = Data from independent sources that Kamusi participants align playing 🐥📊 DUCKS
•e = Data from the 🎮 games you can play on 😂🌎🤖 EmojiWorldBot
•P = Pending language, data in queue for alignment
•w = Data from 🔠🕸 WordNet teams

Software and Systems

We are actively creating new software for you to make use of and contribute to the 🎓 knowledge we are bringing together. Learn about software that is ready for you to download or in development, and the unique data systems we are putting in place for advanced language learning and technology:

Articles and Information

Kamusi has many elements. With these articles, you can read the details that interest you:

Videos and Slideshows

Some of what you need to know about Kamusi can best be understood visually. Our 📽 videos are not professional, but we hope you find them useful:


Our partners - past, present, and future - include:

Hack Kamusi

Here are some of the work elements on our task list that you can help do or fund:

Theory of Kamusi

Select a link below to learn about the principles that guide the project's unique approach to lexicography and public service.

Contact Us

We welcome your comments and questions, and will try to respond quickly. To get in touch, please visit our contact page. You must use a real email address if you want to get a real reply!

© Copyright ©

The Kamusi Project dictionaries and the Kamusi Project databases are intellectual property protected by international copyright law, ©2007 through ©2018, under the joint ownership of Kamusi Project International and Kamusi Project USA. Further explanation may be found on our © Copyright page.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


Discussion items about language, technology, and society, from the Kamusi editor and others. This box is growing. To help develop or fund the project, please contact us!

Our biggest struggle is keeping Kamusi online and keeping it free. We cannot charge money for our services because that would block access to the very people we most want to benefit, the students and speakers of languages around the world that are almost always excluded from information technology. So, we ask, request, beseech, beg you, to please support our work by donating as generously as you can to help build and maintain this unique public resource.


Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to general questions you might have about Kamusi services.

We are building this page around real questions from members of the Kamusi community. Send us a question that you think will help other visitors to the site, and frequently we will place the answer here.

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Press Coverage

Kamusi in the news: Reports by journalists and bloggers about our work in newspapers, television, radio, and online.

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Who Do You Know?

To keep Kamusi growing as a "free" knowledge resource for the world's languages, we need major contributions from philanthropists and organizations. Do you have any connections with a generous person, corporation, foundation, or family office that might wish to make a long term impact on educational outcomes and economic opportunity for speakers of excluded languages around the world? If you can help us reach out to a potential 💛😇 GOLD Angel, please contact us!