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2) For full context, see the following document: https://www.docdroid.net/6ruXJ6r/img-20170802-0002-new.pdf

This excerpt was taken from line 8-10: 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。

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. So unless I’ve fallen for a huge misunderstanding, I guess the translation in itself would work as it is. 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:

1) 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 wether 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, wether the text cites the childrens 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.

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    Please try to avoid asking more than one thing in one question. – naruto Aug 3 '17 at 18:53
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I think the biggest problem of your translation attempt is that you tried to use "say" to translate という. This type of という is used to describe the noun that follows. I understand you want to translate it as literally as possible, but using "say" would usually end up with extremely unnatural English sentence.

  • 地球は丸いという事実
    the fact that the earth is round
  • 美女が野獣に恋をするという物語
    a story where a beautiful woman falls in love with a beast
  • 家族がいるという幸せ
    the happiness of having a family
  • 入学試験に遅刻したという思い出
    the memory of being late for the entrance exam
  • 科学者は時にダメージを与えるというイメージの絵
    a picture that gives an impression that scientists sometimes cause damage

というイメージだ at the end of the sentence relates to both 科学者は時にダメージを与える and 仕事のことばかり考えている. This is an example of right-node raising. To translate this sentence into English, I would not hesitate to split it into two sentences. My attempt:

A British girl draw a mushroom cloud, which gives an impression that scientists are sometimes harmful. What a Japanese boy drew is a scientist who leaves his hair and beard grow, which gives an impression that scientists think only about their jobs.

The mixture of the present and past tenses comes from the mere fact that "draw" is a past action but the pictures are things that exist "now". ("This picture is beautiful! Picasso painted it!" It's not unnatural, is it?)

2
  1. 仕事のことばかり考えている - Thinks only about his work all the time.
  2. というイメージ (イメージ = mental image, impression, artist's impression. This word doesn't mean "a picture".) doesn't mean something is written in the picture, it's just a description of an impression that the pictures are giving.
  3. というイメージ relates to both quotes, as they appear in a clear repetative pattern.
  4. Past and present tense can be used pretty loosely in Japanese. Usually when speaking about past events you use past tense in a few key points, and the rest can use present tense if the correct time can be unambiguously implied.

My translation would be "British girl drew a mushroom cloud, which is like saying "scientists do damage", and Japanese boy's picture was a scientist with long hair and a beard, as if he only thinks about his work all the time."

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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。

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”.

「仕事のことばかり考えている」is also the word from the perspective of the students as 「科学者は時にダメージを与える」and other pictures are.

1) というイメージだ This element could relate to both the first part of the full sentence

You can read it as it is; don't apply the last predicate, というイメージだ, to the first half of the sentence; that way causes you a confusion. The sentence first says イギリスの少女は~の絵をかいた, and then it changes the subject from the drawer to the picture, and says 日本の少年の絵は~というイメージだ。We can naturally expect this イメージ to be used as the same sense as the one appears at the beginning of the passage, どんなイメージを持っているのだろうか, though it's a little confusing becuase it's about 絵. I wish it said というイメージを持っている, but then it may have sounded a little too redundant.

Is the text switching tenses? Line 1-2 and 3-4 (half)

I as a native speaker find everything is natural here. 持っているのだろうか is questioning about the current status. 行われた is talking about something has done. 分かった is also talking about something they have come to understand; things that already happened. 子どもたちがかいた says children already drew. 紹介{しょうかい}しよう says they are going to show us from now, below it. 人々を健康{けんこう}にする is talking about a present fact; a general idea. 褒{ほ}めている is also treated as a present fact/state; we Japanese even say 彼{かれ}は十年前{じゅうねんまえ}ここで怪我{けが}をしている.

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.

The descriptors of the drawings are not talking about past events, but are describing what the idea of them or what they are doing in the picture. The narration states past events as past events and present facts as present facts.

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