Separate the actual solution, from the code
As you've probably identified, the underlying issue is not that the names are incomprehensible or that the students lack memory in remembering what 4 simple commands do.
Instead, it's that trying to remember your step-by-step solution; and translate it into those 4 commands - becomes too much to handle all at once.
Importantly, by trying to do it all at once, the students give themselves the opportunity to get confused between what actions they can do (turn left, move forward) and the names of the variables (does "left" actually mean we can move left?).
As with any programming task - I'd suggest breaking it back into the two separate phases:
- Creating a language agnostic solution
- Translating the solution into code
Firstly, make the problem clear - in non-python terms. You have a turtle that can move forwards, turn-clockwise or anti-clockwise; and you need give it a set of instructions to get to a destination.
This is agnostic of the library used to implement it, or even the fact they will be programming the turtle. As you suggested in the comments - you can have them solve this in person, in the playground, if it's helpful; as it is entirely decoupled from the act of typing code.
This solution should be written, using any natural language they prefer (including diagrams where they feel it's useful). Importantly, it should be complete enough they could pass it to another student - and have them verify it's correct - without ever typing a line of python code.
The benefit of having it written down, is you reduce the amount of things they need to remember at any one stage. As they become more experienced, they will naturally find their need to do this drops - but early on, it is a very good habit to develop.
Once the students have a written solution, in their own choice of natural language (but importantly, written, and not just sitting in thier heads). You can move onto translating their solution into python.
Note that in the translation stage, they should feel that the problem is already solved. This stage should be made clear, that it is a mechanical translation from one language (theirs) to another (python).
Here, although the names may be slightly confusing - it now shouldn't matter. By having them translate their written solution - they are simply looking for the python commands which represent their chosen action. It doesn't matter that "left" sounds like "move left"; as their solution will not contain any references to strafing left (based on the original plain-english problem statement).
Once they have translated their solution, and tested it. It's important again, to emphasise not fixing the bugs directly. At all stages, their written solution should be corrected first, and the actual coding should never be more than translating written language into python code.
With this, hopefully it's clear how the students will develop two separate mental models. One for how to solve problems - given a limited set of instructions - and one for the actual code that represents their solution (which may or may not have intuitive names).