イギリスの少女はキノコ雲をかき、「科学者は時にダメージを与える」、日本の少年の絵は髪やひげは伸びたままにしている科学者で、「仕事のことばかり考えている」というイメージだ。(source line 8-10)
First, my attempt at translation:
The English girls draw nuclear mushrooms and the image says: “scientists sometimes cause damage”, and the picture of the Japanese boys is a scientist, in whom they made the hair and moustache long (=in which they elongated hair and moustache) and the image says: “In my job I must think all the time”.
Because the context is rather strong in this sentence, I didn’t have too many problems understanding it. However, the translation required me to make quite a lot of assumptions about either lacking or seemingly superfluous elements. So I want to ask about them now:
というイメージだ This element could relate to both the first part of the full sentence => イギリスの少女はキノコ雲をかき、「科学者は時にダメージを与える」 And the second part: 日本の少年の絵は髪やひげは伸びたままにしている科学者で、「仕事のことばかり考えている」
The problem is that things get really complicated if I wanted to incorporate the というイメージだ in my translation of the full sentence. Just to give an example, another more “bumpy” translation: “The English girls draw a nuclear mushroom and it is an image which says: ‘scientists sometimes cause damage’ and the picture of the Japanese boys is a scientist, in whom they made the moustache and hair long and it is a picture which says: ‘In my job I must think all the time’.
For that reason, I wanted to know whether my assumptions were correct, because they imply quite far reaching, rather complex relations.
Besides that, another question centered both around this specific sentence, but also touching the whole text: Is the text switching tenses? Line 1-2 and 3-4 (half) and 6-7 are in past tense. The rest seems to be in present tense. I can’t really make out a contextual reason. For example, as we can see in line 6-7, whether the text cites the children's drawings or not doesn’t seem to be of importance. In line 6-7, the “narrator” ultimately narrates in past tense, although he always talks to us in present tense when citing the drawings in all of the other cases in the text.
Do you see any contextual requirement for this? Or even a grammatical requirement? Or is it just a stylistic phenomenon? For example, in fictional literature this is often used to increase the suspense.