Before you venture into the Dreadful Dungeon, it would be wise to acquire a map, or some record of those dreadful tunnels. But the only scraps of information you can find on the subject have been translated - either from a form of the Common Tongue so old as to be unrecognisable, or from the writings of another culture.
Such translations are rarely exact, of course.
- Distances As it turns out, the Dwarven Foot is a little shorter than the Human Foot. Who knew? This is probably fine in Five Foot corridors, but when assessing longer distances, the difference will add up.
- Similar, but not Identical Perhaps as a result of 'False Friends', or some other linguistic custom, the difference between varieties of Goblinoid are not well marked in the language this guide was written in. One cannot readily tell whether these tunnels are infested with Goblins or Orcs.
- Genre The translator of this text describes a frieze depicting 'A Curious Static Dance, with Masks'. He appears to have no notion of stage drama.
- Zealotry The translator of this text renders 'Highly Potent Idols of the Spider God' as 'Ferocious Idols of the Spider God'. It seems that he does not believe that anything connected to the Spider God could be more than a Paper Tiger.
- Biology The original text was written by a Dwarf (or possibly an Elf). They refer to Vinth and Aggal (or Ulvian and Briolant*) features on a tiled floor. The translator has not rendered this into a form humans can understand - possibly from a desire to remain literally accurate, possibly from a lack of knowledge concerning the tiles in question. At any rate, some of the tiles are trapped.
- Idiom According to this translation, within a certain high-ceilinged suite of the Dungeon, Felids and Canids will descend to rule over you.
- Prudery Be it a personal or cultural peculiarity, the translator has declined to uncover certain terms. The precise bodily features of a certain statue that must be pressed to open a secret door will remain a mystery.
- Poetry The original had it that in a certain room, witchfire would burst in thin but intense columns from a dozen sculpted ram's head. The translation merely refers to many ram's heads and much fire.
This quick little post is the result of being partway through Umberto Eco's Mouse or Rat? Translation as Negotiation. First published 2003 - there is a description of the use of translation software it would be interesting to follow back on two decades later. I found Mouse or Rat? quite readable, but it helped to have read a few of Eco's own works beforehand: he references the translations that were made of those on several occasions.
Having written all this, I do realise that this is effectively a Rumour Table with extra steps. But sometimes those extra steps do add flavour to an adventure - there is a difference between getting your faulty information from (variously) the Soaks propping up the Bar in the Local Tavern, the Few Scraps High Command has been able to Piece Together or a Crumbling Tome of Eldritch and Forgotten Lore.
*To say nothing of Jale, Ulfire and Dolm.