But that's just my point, it's not arbitrary when it comes to measurements, because they're different things. A kellicam is different from a kilometer is different from a mile. I mean, is it arbitrary to translate references to cubits in the Bible rather than converting them to feet or meters? Of course not, because it's a distinct unit. It has a different length than a foot or a meter.
Besides, one could argue that "kellicam" is the English word for the unit that's known as qelI'qam
in Klingonese. In fact, that's exactly what Marc Okrand says in The Klingon Dictionary
. Look up qelI'qam
and it gives the English equivalent as "kellicam." However you spell or pronounce it, it's a distinct unit of a specific size. Substituting "kilometers" for "kellicams" would make as much sense as substituting "purple" for "blue."