Gender-Specific Charactonyms in Persian Translation of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim's Progress

Document Type : Original Article


PhD of Translation Studies, Department of English Translation Studies, Faculty of Persian Literature and Foreign Languages, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran


The present research aimed to investigate gender-specific charactonyms and their meanings in Persian Translations of John Bunyan’s (1678) The Pilgrim's Progress. It also aimed to reveal translation strategies applied by both translators in their translations, Siyahat-i Masihi (‘سیاحت مسیحی’) by J. L. Potter in 1926 and Seir-o Solouk-i Za’ir (‘سیر و سلوک زائر’) by Golnaz Hamedi in 2002. To do so, SL gender-specific charactonyms and TL equivalents were compared together at Evelyn Hatch’s (1992) macro-level analysis. According to Hatch (1992), characters, as one of the elements of a story, play a significant role and affect the macrostructure of the story. Then, Alexander Kalashnikov’s (2011) two types of charactonyms were used to analyze the translations. The results show that Potter preferred to preserve the titles of gender (masculine and feminine) in his translation. In contrast, Hamedi more tended to distance the gender of the charactonyms having deeper meanings. This led to affect the novel due to the omission of the characteristics and additional information behind the charactonyms.


1. Introduction

Investigation of the proper names is considered a central issue in translation studies (TS), and researchers are attracted to study them. Onomastics is a branch of semantics that deals with the etymology of the proper names, the names of people (anthroponyms), and the names of places (toponyms) (Crystal2008). Among the proper nouns, gender-specific charactonyms have their own history and depend on the two languages under study.

Names may bear gender connotations differing from country to country and language to language. Social norms are among the main factors determining such names in many countries and cultures. The gender-specific names may refer to the characteristics, intellectual values, and a particular concept in a deeper study. According to Alexander Kalashnikov (2006), not conveying this additional information by translators leads the TL reader to be deprived of a lot of clarity and description about these names such cultural, social, and religious aspects of dialogue in a novel. (p. 1)

Charactonym is a name given to a literary character suggesting the characteristics of the name bearer. Many English writers such as William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and William Faulkner employed the charactonyms as a specific stylistic device like that is used by John BunyanKalashnikov (2011) has also defined two types of charactonyms: veiled charactonyms and charactonyms personalia including two subgroups: charactonyms personalia with common stems and names of famous people given to literary characters (pp. 205-213).

The names in The Pilgrim's Progress are allegorical in which the employed characters, places, or events deliver a broader message about occurrences. A personal name also has an actual truth hidden behind the surface name. Therefore, the complex ideas and concepts are conveyed via allegorical characters. defines the term allegory as: “a story within a story. It has a “surface story” and another story hidden underneath.”

According to Charles F. Hockett (1958), “Genders are classes of nouns reflected in the behavior of associated words” (p. 231). One-quarter of the world’s languages approximately uses a gender system. The languages also have their own grammatical gender. There are masculine and feminine genders in French, Spanish, Arabic, and the like, and nouns can refer to males and females. Other nouns referring to genders either have specific grammatical rules or be arbitrary. Languages such as German and Greek have a three-gender system: masculine, feminine, and neuter.

Speaking of gender in English, referring to the names uses the pronouns such as He, She, and It. Several gender-based names in English are arbitrary (conventional), referring to a concept or a part of a doctrine. The titles Lord, Lady, Sir, Mr., Mrs., Ms., and Miss address specific men and women holding certain characteristics. In Persian, Arabic gender markers are commonly employed to refer the masculine and feminine names. The gender of Arabic nouns includes real (حقیقی), unreal (مجازی/غیر حقیقی), and marked (لفظی). The feminine markers ـة / ة called التَّاء المَرْبُوطَة (at-taa’ al-marbuTah) andـى   calledأَلِف التَّأنِیْث المَقْصُورَة   (alif at-ta’niith al-maqSuurah) andاء/ـاء  calledأَلِف التَّأْنِیْث المَمْدُوْدَة  (alif at-ta’niith al-mamduudah) and appear at the end of the names representing the feminine ones.

The current study aims to compare the SL gender-specific charactonyms of The Pilgrim's Progress written by Bunyan in 1678 with the Persian equivalents of two Persian translations: Siyahat-i Masihi, Az in Jahan Bejahan-e Ayandeh (سیاحت مسیحی، از این جهان بجهان آینده) translated by J. L. Potter (ج. ال. پاطر) published in London in 1926 (1304) and Seir-o Solouk-i Za’ir (سیر و سلوک زائر) translated by Golnaz Hamedi (گلناز حامدی) in 2002 (1381) to study gender-specific charactonyms and their meanings and  translation strategies affecting the macrostructure of the novel.

2. Review of the Related Literature

The study of charactonyms along with their origins, stems, and meanings is hard work. According to Kalashnikov (2006), “Charactonym is a name expressing the characteristics of the bearer” (p. 1). Famous writers such as Shakespeare, Faulkner, and Dickens have employed charactonyms as a stylistic device in their works like what Bunyan did.

Kalashnikov (2011) states that a group of names has veiled meaningfulness, and these anthroponyms are recognized as foreign, but suggest a characteristic of the name bearer. He describes veiled charactonyms as the following:

Veiled charactonyms do not open their inner form, thus the names seem to have lost their stylistic function. However, these names may not be considered as lacking any additional connotation because many European languages have words similar in form and meaning. (Kalashnikov2011, p. 207)

He emphasizes the relationship between the charactonyms to the context and describes that:

A veiled characterization may be incorporated into a given name, as most names have common stems in the source languages. Sometimes such names make strong associations with the context where either the choice of the name is explained or else, they serve as a stylistic device. (Kalashnikov2011, p. 207)

Kalashnikov (2011) exemplifies two characters, Stavrogin and Karamazov used by Dostoyevsky as veiled charactonyms. Kalashnikov points out that Nikolai Berdyaev was the first one who interpreted the name Stavrogin. The inner form of the name Stavrogin means suffering. Also, the name Karamazov (Mr. Chernomazov) in The Brothers Karamazov reveals its inner form and refers to two stems where cherno means “black” and maz as “smear.”  (p. 208)

It is the task of the translator to decode and to reveal the message of a text. Several theories of translation have been suggested by various scholars such as Saint Jerome, Martin Luther, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and Eugene Nida as translation strategies.

Moreover, other strategies have been presented by scholars such as Hervey and Higgins (1992), Theo Hermans (1988), Anthony Pym (2004), and Peter Newmark (1988) to render the proper names.

Hervey and Higgins (1992) present the strategies of exotism, transliteration, and cultural transplantation for translating personal names. (p. 29) Hermans (1988) holds that copying, reproducing, transcription, and transliteration are the four strategies for translating names. (p. 13) Pym (2004) believes “proper names are untranslatable simply because they do not have to be translated” (p. 92).

Newmark (1988a) describes that people's names should not be translated when their names have no connotation in the text. Translating the names of saints, monarchs, and popes is sometimes considered an exception. (p. 214)

Newmark (1988b) goes on to describe the translation of fictional characters as:

While surnames in fiction often have deliberate connotation through sound and meaning, the translator should explain the connotations in a glossary and leave the names intact (except, of course, in allegories like Pilgrim's Progress, Everyman, etc… where the characters are not specifically English). (p. 71)

Unfortunately, the lack of theories about translation of charactonym(s) bearing the characteristics of the names bearers is obvious from the scholars of translation studies. The problem stems from adhering to or rejecting the meaningfulness of proper nouns.


3. Method

3.1. Corpus   

The corpus of the present study includes the English version of The Pilgrim's Progress written by John Bunyan’s (1678) and published by Reformation Press in Lindenhurst, New York and the two Persian translations, Siyahat-i Masihi (‘سیاحت مسیحی’) by John. L. Potter in 1926 (1304) and Seir-o Solouk-i Za’ir (‘سیر و سلوک زائر’) by Golnaz Hamedi in 2002 (1381).


Table 1

The Source Text (ST) and the Target Texts (TTs)



Title of Book(s)



Year of Publication






John Bunyan

جان بانیان

The Pilgrim's Progress

سیر و سلوک زائر

Seir-o Solouk-i Za’ir (SSZ)

Golnaz Hamedi

گلناز حامدی







The Pilgrim's Progress

سیاحت مسیحی

از این جهان بجهان آینده

Siyahat-i Masihi, Az in Jahan Bejahan-e Ayandeh (SM)


J. L. Potter

ج. ال. پاطر


Published in London





3.2. Procedure

The procedure of this study includes five steps as the following: 1. The Source Text (ST) is read to recognize the SL gender-specific charactonyms. 2. The Target Texts (TTs) are examined and the preferred Persian equivalents to the SL charactonyms are elicited. 3. The analysis is conducted to study the gender, characteristics, traits, and cultural and religious features of the Persian equivalents to the SL charactonyms. 4. It examines the conveyance of the charactonyms’ characteristics through the Persian equivalents. 5. The discussion and conclusion are presented on the basis of the obtained results.

3.3. Research Design

The research focuses on gender-specific charactonyms in the Persian Translation of John Bunyan’s (1678) The Pilgrim's Progress according to Evelyn Hatch’s (1992) model. Hatch (1992) emphasizes the components of stories and believes that four elements are vital for analyzing the macrostructure of a story which can be summarized as follows: 1- orientation, this includes time of occurrence, place of occurrence, and characters and their roles, 2- the goal of the story, 3- statement of the problem, and 4- conclusion. (p. 165)

The present research is qualitative and is considered a descriptive-analytical corpus-based study. Hatch’s (1992) macro-level analysis (characters and their roles) is chosen as the theoretical framework of this study. Kalashnikov’s (2011) two types of charactonyms, veiled charactonyms and charactonyms personalia are also applied to compare the SL gender-specific charactonyms with the TL equivalents.

4. Results

The Pilgrim's Progress is one of the most significant works in English literature and Bunyan skillfully employed the two types of the charactonyms in his work. In this research, the SL charactonyms and the TL equivalents are compared according to Kalashnikov’s (2006) classification of translation equivalents to reveal whether the Persian equivalents convey the characteristics of the SL gender-specific charactonyms and/or affect the macrostructure of the novel.

4.1 Charactonyms and Gender

There is a group of names having meaning(s) and at least bear a characteristic. The charactonyms may really, unreally, or markedly address specific men or women carrying a specific meaning and/or concept. The connotative meaning shows the traits of the name bearer.

Bunyan employs gender in The Pilgrim's Progress and uses titles Mr., Sir, and Lord for some male charactonyms and Lady, Mrs., and Miss. for female ones. Bunyan also employs two types of women: married women and unmarried women. The married women mostly appear in Part 2 and the unmarried women (virgins, maidens) in the first part of the book.

Bunyan’s goal in employing gender-based names is to inform the audience of the historical roles of women in the Puritan church. The examples are the virgins at the Beautiful Palace as the teachers of faith and truth. The married women are considered the weak followers in Part 2. While Potter renders all the charactonyms relating to men or women, Hamedi mostly ignores the gender, and does not consider it in her translation. Therefore, the two translations are so different and differentiation between the men and women in Hamedi’s translation is lost. The examples are the following:

Discretion, Prudence, Piety, and Charity 

The first appearance of the charactonym personalia with common stem Discretion is when porter of the Palace Beautiful called her.

Example 1:

 “So the porter Watchful rang a bell, at the sound of which a dignified and beautiful lady named Discretion came to the door of the house and asked why she had been called.” (pp. 59-60)

"سپس حاجب زنگی را به صدا درآورد و به دنبال آن دوشیزه ای زیبا و باوقار به نام بصیرت ظاهر شد و سبب خواندن خود پرسید." (حامدی، ص. 63)

"پس دربان که پاسبان بود زنگ را زده که از درب خانه یک باکرۀ زیبائی با وقار که اسم او ممیّزه بود بیرون آمده پرسید که سبب خواندن من چیست" (پاطر، ص. 92).

Hamedi used the Persian equivalent بصیرت to the charactonym Discretion. Potter employed the Persian equivalent ممیّزه to the name Discretion and introduced her as a virgin. ممیّزه refers to a female name because of the last letter of ه, which is a female sign is Persian.

Following the story, Discretion calls other members of her family:

Example 2:

Then after a little hesitation she said, “I will call here two or three more of the family.” So she ran to an inner door and called out to Prudence [wisdom], Piety [spiritual devotion], and Charity [love] who, after a little more conversation with him, invited Christian inside to meet the rest of the family. (p. 60)

پس از لحمه ای گفت: «اکنون دو سه تن از افراد خانواده را فرا خواهم خواند.» و به سوی در رفت و سه تن را به اسامی تدبیر و تقوا و مهربانی ندا داد که به نزد مسیحی آیند، پس از گفت و گوی مختصری او را نزد سایر اعضای خانواده بردند. (حامدی، ص. 64)

و بعد از زمانی قلیل گفت دو سه نفر دیگر از اهل بیت را بیرون میخوانم پس بطرف در دویده مدبّره خانم و متقیه و محبت خانم را بیرون خواند و آنها بعد از قدری دیگر که صحبت با او داشتند او را نزد باقی عیال آوردند. (پاطر، ص. 93)

While Hamedi selects the neutral Persian equivalents تدبیر and مهربانی to the charactonyms personalia Prudence and Charity without considering their gender, Potter selects the female Persian equivalents مدبّره خانم and محبت خانم respectively.

When the story goes forward, the discussion over gender makes itself more visible;

Example 3:

“So Piety, Prudence, and Charity were appointed to have discussion with him; and so they began.” (p. 60)

"و قرار بر این نهادند که در این فرصت تدبیر و تقوا با مسیحی گفت و گویی کنند." (حامدی، ص. 64)

"مقرر داشتند که مدبّره خانم و متقیه خانم و محبت خانم با او صحبت نمایند پس باین طور شروع در صحبت نمودند" (پاطر، ص. 94). 

Hamedi’s two Persian equivalents تدبیر and مهربانی (omitted in this sentence) are the gender-free names, meaning that they do not refer to a girl or woman or a boy or man in the Persian language. Analyzing this section, the virgins and the family represent the church and emphasize the role of women in that era. According to Hamedi’s translation, one hardly understands the gender-free names تدبیر (Tadbir) and مهربانی (Mehrbani) and even تقوا (Taghva), a feminine name in Arabic, are the three other unmarried women representing the concept of the female teachers in the source language. Hamedi’s choices of the Persian equivalents are action nouns (اسم مصدر) and Potter’s ones are more agent nouns (اسم فاعل).

Table 2

Discretion, Prudence, Piety, and Charity




Potter’s Translation


Hamedi’s Translation









Feminine, agent noun, borrowed from Arabic




Feminine, deverbal noun, borrowed from Arabic













Masculine , deverbal noun, borrowed from Arabic













Feminine, deverbal noun, borrowed from Arabic







Feminine, deverbal

 noun, borrowed from Arabic



Neutral noun, Persian

French and Arabic translators like Potter mention the gender of the names in The Pilgrim's Progress as the symbols the author intends to and the relationship of intertextuality is preserved.

Lady Feigning

Example 4:

“BY-ENDS: Yes, and my wife is a very virtuous woman. She was my Lady Feigning’s [Pretender’s] daughter, and …” (p. 122).

"فرصت طلب: همسری دارم در غایت تقوا، که فرزند بانویی پرهیزگار است و خود صاحب صبیه. بانوی من ظاهرساز است و ..." (حامدی، ص. 119).

"نیّات خاص گفت بلی زوجه ام زن بسیار باعصمتی است و دختر زن باعصمتی است که او دختر خانمم مزورة نامست" (پاطر، ص. 210).

Hamedi used the name ظاهرساز to the charactonym Lady Feigning, which implies both genders; male and female and has no feminine sign but Potter employed the name مزورة, a feminine name which refers to a woman.


Example 5:

“There he saw, beside the way, three men fast asleep with chains attached to their heels. The name of one was Simple, another was Sloth, and the third was Presumption.” (p. 49)

"در آنجا سه تن را دید که پای در زنجیر در خوابی عمیق فرو رفته بودند، یکی را نام ساده لوح، و دومی را کاهل و سومی را جسارت بود." (حامدی، ص. 55)

"... در آنجا قدری بیرون از راه سه شخصرا که بخواب سنگین افتاده بودند دید که زنجیرها در پای ایشان بسته شده اسم یکی ساده و دیگری تنبل و سوّمی گستاخ بود" (پاطر، ص. 94).

Jesarat (جسارت) is a feminine name employed by Hamedi to a masculine name.


Example 6:

“Now the Shepherds, whose names were Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere, took them by the hand and conducted them to their tents where they partook of a prepared feast.” (p. 147)

"شبانان که به تعبیر من نامهایشان معرفت، آزمودگی، مراقب و مخلص بوده زائران را به خیمه های خود برده و آنچه مهیّا بود در اختیار آنان نهادند." (حامدی،  ص. 142)

"پس شبانان که اسم آنها عارف و مختبر و پاسبان و صمیم بود دست آنها را گرفته بچادرهای خود بردند و آنچه حاضر داشتند نزد آنها آورده بآنها خورانیدند" (پاطر،  ص. 257).



Example 7:

“Therefore here they met a very brisk lad [lively young man] named Ignorance.” (p. 151)

"در همین مسیر بود که به جوان چالاکی که از آن سرزمین می آمد برخورد کردند و مسیحی از این جوان که جهالت نام داشت..." (حامدی، ص. 145).

"آنگاه در آنجا جوان چابکی را ملاقات کردند که از آنوطن بیرون میآید و اسم او جهالت بود" (پاطر، 1304، ص. 264).

Table 3

The charactonyms PresumptionKnowledge, and Ignorance



Potter’s Translation


Hamedi’s Translation









Persian noun




Feminine, deverbal noun, borrowed from Arabic







Masculine, agent noun, borrowed from Arabic












Feminine, deverbal noun, borrowed from Arabic





Considering the existing charactonyms with the nature of the male gender, the two translators have two different approaches.

Example 8:

“Then the jury, whose names were Mr. Blind-man, Mr. No-good, Mr. Malice, Mr. Love-lust, Mr. Live-loose, Mr. Heady, Mr. High-mind, Mr. Enmity, Mr. Liar, Mr. Cruelty, Mr. Hate-light, and Mr. Implacable, retired to consider a verdict.” (p. 119)

"سروران کوردل، بد مطلق، بدسرشت، شهوت پرست، سهل انگار، خودسر، بلند پرواز، کینه، کذّاب، شقی، خصم نور، سنگدل، که بدواً هر یک علیه او رأی مخفی دادند." (حامدی، ص. 116)

پس اشخاصی که از برای رسیدگی نشسته بودند بیرون رفتند و اسامی آنها از قرار مذکور است. آقا مرد کور. آقا هیچ خوب. آقا بدخواه. آقا محب شهوت. آقا حیوة بیشریعت. آقا سرکش. آقا بلند پرواز. آقا کینه. آقا دروغگو. آقا بی رحم. آقا مبغض النور. آقا بی اصلاح. (پاطر، ص. 204)

Hamedi employed the title سروران (the masters) to the whole charactonyms and left the title Mr., used before the names to address or refer to the men, untranslated.

Example 9:

First, the foreman of the jury, Mr. Blind-man said, “I clearly see that this man is a heretic.” Then Mr. No-good said, “Let us be rid of such a fellow from the face of the Earth.” “Yes,” said Mr. Malice, “for I hate the very appearance of this man.” (p. 119)

"بدین توضیح که نخست کوردل رئیس هیئت منصفه گفت: «آشکارا می بینم که این فرد کافر است.»

بد مطلق: «چنین فردی باید از صفحه روزگار محو شود.»

بدخواه: «از دیدن روی او بیزارم.»" (حامدی، ص. 116)

و اوّل در میان خودشان آقا مرد کور رئیس آنها گفت آشکارا می بینم که این شخص مرد بدعت گذاریست و بعد از آن آقا هیچ خوب گفت چنین شخص پست را از روی زمین بردارید آقا بدخواه گفت بلی بردارید زیرا که صورت او را هم دوست ندارم که به بینم. (پاطر، ص. 204)

Hamedi’s rendition of these three charactonyms is without using the title of Mr. (آقا).

Example 10:

Then Mr. Love-lust said, “I could never tolerate him.” “Nor could I,” responded Mr. Live-loose, “for he would always be condemning my lifestyle.” “Hang him, hang him,” said Mr. Heady. “He is a sorry scrub [ruffian],” said Mr. High-mind. “My heart boils with anger against him,” said Mr. Enmity. “He is a rogue,” said Mr. Liar. “Hanging is too good for him,” said Mr. Cruelty. “Let us dispose of him immediately,” said Mr. Hate-light. Then Mr. Implacable said, “If I would be given the whole world, still I could not be reconciled to him; therefore, let us deliver our verdict and find him guilty of death.” (p. 119)

شهوت پرست: «هرگز تحمّل او را ندارم.»

سهل انگار: «زیرا همیشه گفته های مرا تکذیب کرده است. او را به دار آویزید، به دار آویزید.»

خودسر: «مردی رذل و پست و حقیر است.»

بلند پرواز: «قلب من علیه او گواهی می دهد.»

کینه: «دلم علیه او می تپد.»

کذّاب: «او مردی است مکّار.»

شقی: «تصلّب درباره او نوعی مرحمت است.»

خصم نور: «بیایید او را از میان برداریم.»

و بالاخره سنگدل گفت: «اگر همه عالم را به من بخشند، هرگز حاضر به مصالحه با او نخواهم بود؛ بنابر این رأی ما بر مجرمیت اوست و او را مستحق مرگ می دانیم.» (حامدی، ص. 116)

آقا محب شهوت گفت هرگز متحمل او نمیشدم آقا حیوة بیشریعت گفت من هم متحمل او نمیشوم زیرا که او همیشه حکم بر خلاف رفتار من میکرد آقا سرکش گفت او را بدار آویزید آقا بلند پرواز گفت مرد رذل پستی است آقا کینه گفت دلم بر ضد او میجهد آقا دروغ گو گفت او مکار است آقا بیرحم گفت عذاب شایستۀ او بالاتر از آویخت بدارست آقا مبغض النور گفت او را از میان برداریم بعد از آن آقا بی اصلاح گفت هرگاه تمام عالم بمن بخشیده شود هرگز با او صلح نخواهم کرد لهذا گفتند رأی خود را چنین گوئیم که او مجرم است و مستحق مرگست. (پاطر، ص ص. 204-206)

Following the story, Hamedi did not use the title of male gender in her rendition, but Potter contrarily did. Table 4 illustrates gender-specific charactonyms in Potter’s and Hamedi’s translations.                                                                             

Table 4

Gender in John L. Potter’s and Golnaz Hamedi’s translations



referring to gender

Potter’s Translation

Hamedi’s Translation


Mr. Worldly-Wiseman

مرد عاقل دنیوی




مدبّره خانم




متقیه خانم




محبت خانم



Lord Hate-good

آقا مبغض الخیر

مردی بود به نام متنفر


Lord Old Man

آقا پیر مرد

سالخورده سرور


Lord Carnal Delight

آقا لذت جسمانی

لذت جسمانی


Lord Luxurious

آقا عیاش

سرور شهوت


Lord Desire of Vain-glory

آقا خواهشمند جلال باطل

جلال باطل


Lord Lechery

پیر آقایم شهوت پرست

امیال نفسانی


Sir Having Greedy

آقا طامع

ارباب طماع


Mr. Blind-man

آقا مرد کور

کور دل


Mr. No-good

آقا هیچ خوب

بد مطلق


Mr. Malice

آقا بدخواه

بد سرشت


Mr. Love-lust

آقا محب شهوت

شهوت پرست


Mr. Live-loose

آقا حیوة بیشریعت

سهل انگار


Mr. Heady

آقا سرکش

خود سر


Mr. High-mind

آقا بلند پرواز

بلند پرواز


Mr. Enmity

آقا کینه



Mr. Liar

آقا دروغگو



Mr. Cruelty

آقا بی رحم



Mr. Hate-light

آقا مبغض النور

خصم نور


Mr. Implacable

آقا بی اصلاح



my Lord Turn-about

آقایم رو گردان

روی گردان


my Lord Time-server

آقایم خادم الزمان

ابن وقت


my Lord Fair-speech

آقایم خوش حرف

خوش سخن


Mr. Smooth-man

آقا ملایم مرد

آسان پسند


Mr. Facing-both-ways

آقا دو رو



Mr. Anything

آقا هر چه واعظ

هرزه گوی


Mr. Two-tongues

آقا دو زبان

دو زبان


Lady Feigning

(دختر خانمم) مزوّره

ظاهر ساز


Mr. By-ends

نیّات خاص

فرصت طلب


Mr. Hold-the-world

آقا دنیا دار

آقای دنیا دار


Mr. Money-love

آقا پول دوست

زر پرست


Mr. Save-all

آقا نگهدارنده



Mr. Gripe-man

آقا اخذ نام



Mrs. Diffidence

نامعتمد خانم



The Pilgrim's Progress is a classic Christian text written by Bunyan in an allegorical format. It consists of two parts, and this study focuses on Part One. Bunyan (1678) skillfully used the charactonyms including gender-specific charactonyms to display the deeper meanings. The doctrine, concepts, and meanings he employed appear and represent the male and female characters that stem from Christianity, source language culture, and history. Mistranslation, manipulation, and ignoring the author’s intention will ruin the macro-structure of the story because the literary characters are the essential elements of the story.

 Bunyan invented nearly two hundred charactonyms in this story mainly having the titles of gender. The creation of several female charactonyms or even male ones is not by accident that their titles of gender can be omitted without harming the story. The religious book is replete with numerous biblical references, and this causes two translations only to be found in Persian. The charactonyms may be considered charactonyms personalia with common stems. At the same time, they have deeper meanings and refer to a doctrine or a concept and may be regarded as veiled charactonyms in the target language.

For instance, Discretion, Prudence, Piety, and Charity are the four charatonyms whose personalities are introduced as the damsels and virgins teaching and guiding people. Potter used the title خانم indicating the feminine gender as well as adding ة (at-taa’ al-marbuTah) to show the author’s intention from using the charactonyms. Still, Hamedi’s choice was to omit the markers of gender such as تدبیر and مهربانی in her translation.

The charactonym Discretion may firstly be considered charactonym personalia with common stem that traces back to "to discern." The biblical reference of this charactonym is the following:

Discretion will preserve you; understanding will guard (keep) you (Proverbs 2:11).

The charactonym Charity may be taken into account as a charactonym personalia with common stem and one of its biblical references is the following:

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (1 Corinthians 13:13, KJV)

These charactonyms are veiled charactonyms for those TL readers who are not familiar with this type of text that Bunyan personified and typified the female characters. These charactonyms intertwine with history, religion, culture, and society of the era of Bunyan’s life, and their stems are more associated with specific references. According to Hatch (1992), characters and their roles are essential elements of the story and put the reader in the story world, then, the gender roles of the charactonyms are essential to the SL reader because of deprivation of additional information and the traits the names suggest.

6. Conclusion

In this research, two different translation strategies are applied by both translators: translating the titles of gender-specific charactonyms with deeper meanings and ignoring genders and their specific meanings. Potter renders gender-specific charactonyms and the titles of gender while Hamedi mainly distances from the rendition of gender-based names and their titles. Not considering gender in translation leads the TL audience to be deprived of many characteristics, and additional information the names bear and the meanings of the SL charactonyms do not be conveyed to the TL reader. Consequently, several TL equivalents to these names are considered equivalents with a changed characteristic and irrelevant equivalents. Decoding the veiled charactonyms, the stems of charactonyms personalia with common stems, as well as translating the genders and their titles are essential to put the superficial meanings of the charactonyms aside and to reach the deeper meanings of the literary characters.

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Volume 6, Issue 4
Pages 23-38
  • Receive Date: 28 November 2021
  • Revise Date: 08 January 2022
  • Accept Date: 30 January 2022