<br /><br />Language Translation - Place names have translations too<br /><br />
One might think that geographical names would be universal -- but this is far from the case.
Languages would be a bit easier to learn if place names were always the same.
Of course, different versions are inevitable when alphabets differ. But even among closely related languages, geographical names vary considerably.
To give a few examples from French, London -- which would pose no pronunciation problems in French -- is Londres.
The English Channel is neither a channel nor English, but la Manche -- literally, the sleeve.
American state and city names fare pretty well, but New Orleans is La Nouvelle-Orléans -- well, I guess we can grant the French that one. State names ending in -a often end up with an -e in French: Californie, Floride, Louisiane. However, Arizona remains intact -- go figure.
Before you say "oh, how illogical," rest assured that English returns the favor.
Have you dreamed of going to Normandy and Brittany? Look for them as la Normandie and la Bretagne on a French map.
"The French Riviera" sounds foreign enough, but hits far from the mark: in France, it's called la Côte d'Azur,or the Azure Coast.
And this is a minor detail, but one that has always bothered me: officially, the cities of Lyon and Marseille are "Lyons" and "Marseilles" in English. I've noticed recently, however, that some writers are now using the French spelling. Why complicate things further?
Obviously, a translator must be aware of all of these differences, which are not necessarily laid out in every dictionary.
The Internet, with tools such as Google Maps, must be a big help in the place name translation department.