Oops, well spotted, I have fixed it now.
As a general rule, I translated the names of non-human beings to an approximate English equivalent. This is in line with my even more general policy of translating everything unless it was really impossible. Of course, the names of non-human beings in Pali only map very loosely onto those in English; but it is worth bearing in mind that the English meanings also change drastically, as do the Pali. An obvious case is yakkhas, which in later literature typically have a negative sense, a ferocious demon, but in the suttas is most often ambivalent if not positive. Thus using the Indic term can be even more misleading, so I have used “spirit”.
In the case of nāga, we find four main meanings:
- A large snake, probably king cobra
- A powerful and dangerous non-human spirit in serpentine form (“dragon”)
- In metaphorical sense, a “spiritual giant”.
In MN 23, there is series of interesting metaphors, each of which can be read on multiple levels. On one hand, of course it is to be expected that a snake would live in an ant-hill. However the border between an ordinary snake and a mystical dragon is far from clear-cut. It is common in modern Hinduism to find nagas worshiped in an anthill. Given that the Buddha identified it with the arahant, it seems a better reading than “snake”.
I wrote on this here: