Before galaxies in the modern sense were discovered, in Europe "the Galaxy" was another name for the Milky Way.
The name "Birds' Path" is used in several Uralic and Turkic languages and in the Baltic languages. Northern peoples observed that migratory birds follow the course of the galaxy while migrating at the Northern Hemisphere. The name "Birds' Path" (in Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Bashkir and Kazakh) has some variations in other languages, e.g. "Way of the grey (wild) goose" in Chuvash, Mari and Tatar and "Way of the Crane" in Erzya and Moksha.
Many European languages have borrowed, directly or indirectly, the Greek name for the Milky Way, including English and Latin.
The Milky Way was traditionally used as a guide by pilgrims traveling to the holy site at Compostela, hence the use of "The Road to Santiago" as a name for the Milky Way. Curiously, La Voje Ladee "The Milky Way" was also used to refer to the pilgrimage road.
The Sanskrit name "Ganges of the Sky" (आकाशगंगा Ākāśagaṃgā) is used in many Indian languages following a Hindu myth.
The Chinese name "Silver River" (銀河) is used throughout East Asia, including Korea and Vietnam. In Japan and Korea, "Silver River" 銀河 (Ginga) means galaxies in general.
In the Middle East and Central Asia, the name for the Milky Way is related to the word for straw. Today, Persians, Pakistanis, and Turks use it in addition to Arabs. It has been suggested that the term was spread by medieval Arabs who in turn borrowed it from Armenians.
In England the Milky Way was called the Walsingham Way in reference to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham which is in Norfolk, England. It was understood to be either a guide to the pilgrims who flocked there, or a representation of the pilgrims themselves.
Scandinavian peoples, such as Swedes, have called the galaxy Winter Street (Vintergatan) as the galaxy is most clearly visible during the winter at the northern hemisphere, especially at high latitudes where the glow of the Sun late at night can obscure it during the summer.