First post here because I've got a very specific question. To give some background: I'm currently learning Japanese and I learn mostly through cross referencing jisho.org, Tae Kim's grammar guide and Google Translate (GT herein). I was doing some studying and realized again that I'm a "top-down" learner. I also teach English in Japan and this made me think of one of my students. So I tried to think of how to say "I learn from the top down." I came up with what I thought it would be, and checked with GT by translating "I learn downwards from the top." My sentence matched GT:
When I reverse translated, it gave me "I learn from the top down." - as desired. Fine and dandy, but I wanted to say it politely, so I changed the ぶ at the end to びます and retranslated 「僕は上から下に学びます。」To my surprise, GT spit out:
"I will learn from the top down." (Without the asterisks of course)
Now, from my understanding there's no discrimination between future and present tense in Japanese (provided a lack of context), so the polite and plain forms shouldn't translate any differently. Is there a specific reason why GT would do this? Or is this just the intensity of translation presenting itself as a flaw within Google's algorithms?
Thanks for the long read, Erik