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"Premature optimization is the root of all evil"

I would like to translate this quote into Japanese for a personal project. For further understanding of the meaning, Donald Knuth wrote this phrase in 1974, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Program_optimization, context:

We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil

Google translate gave me 時期尚早な最適化は諸悪の根源である but I'm not confident on it's correctness, and it seems a bit long?

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closed as off-topic by istrasci, Dono, Ataraxia, jkerian Sep 8 '13 at 0:57

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think in this rare case, Google translate provides a spot-on translation. I would translate the whole sentence as

We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil.
細かな効率については、約97%の場合忘れれば良い。なぜなら、時期尚早の最適化は諸悪の根源だからだ。

Translation notes: I just translated "say about" as 約. The "say" here should really be something like まあ or, as Hyperworm suggested, そうだね, but I thought that the resulting tone would be a bit too conversational, which is not really the case in English.

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In both this answer and execjosh's answer we have statements translating say in say about 97% of the time as 言う, 語る, and 考える, and treating time as if it referred to execution time. All these are mistranslations in my opinion. "say about 97% of the time" means the same as "in, let me name a number, about 97% of cases". Say here means 例えば・そうだね、, and it should be more like 小さな効率は、そうだね、約97%の割合で忘れるべきだ。 Posted as a comment not an answer because it's not actually part of the text the OP wanted translated. –  Hyperworm Sep 6 '13 at 16:37
    
@Hyperworm I agree that it is a mistranslation. –  Earthliŋ Sep 6 '13 at 19:40
1  
This "blog page" in particular looks like a machine translated ad link page. 忘れてはならない means the opposite of "We should forget." –  ekipan Sep 7 '13 at 22:44
    
@ekipan I just removed the site and provided my own translation. I should have looked closer at the translation, which indeed looks like a machine translation. I still like Google translate's version of the second half, though. –  Earthliŋ Sep 8 '13 at 0:22
    
I know that I'm not supposed to change the question, so just a small addendum: Could I write it like this imgur.com/76sFL3c without changing the meaning of the phrase? let me know if you think it's appropriate to update the question. –  Myhrti Sep 9 '13 at 12:23
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On the Wikipedia page for Tony Hoare it's translated as:

小さな効率は忘れよう。時間の97%について語ろう。早まった最適化は諸悪の根源だ。

And on the page for optimization it's:

ほんとうの問題点は、プログラマたちが誤った場所と誤った時点での効率について苦労して、多くの時間を浪費してしまったということにあります。プログラミングでは、時を得ない最適化は諸悪の根源なのであります。(すべてではないにしても、少なくとも悪の大部分と言えるでしょう。)

and also:

未熟な最適化は諸悪の根源である

and also:

細かい効率のことは忘れて、時間の97%について考えよう。時期尚早な最適化は諸悪の根源だ。それでも残り3%についても機会を逃すべきではない

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