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I have never taken Latin, but I enjoy languages, and particularly pithy quotes. There is a legal principle De minimis non curat lex, which is usually translated as “the law is not concerned with trifles”, or with little things. The idea is that the law is not concerned with minor issues.

I wanted to change the epigram to De minimis non curat Deus attempting to make it mean “God is not concerned with trifles”. Google translate appears to “know” the original epigram, and thus translates it correctly, but it translates my substituted version as gobbledygook.

Is what I wrote correct Latin (in spite of the fact that ancient Romans would have preferred plural Gods, not God)? If not, two questions: first, can someone explain why (I do understand language and linguistics well enough to get an explanation), and second, is there a pithy phrasing that would mean what I intended (and preferably, is as close as possible to the original)?

Thank you in advance.

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De minimis non curat Deus

This is valid Latin, and means literally "God doesn't care about tiny things".

Google Translate is just extremely bad at Latin, for a few reasons: it doesn't do well with inflected languages in general, since it generally treats words as atomic units that can't be broken down further, and the Latin corpus is extremely small compared to many living languages (a comparison I made recently is that the entire corpus of Classical Latin literature is on the same order of magnitude as two weeks of the New York Times.)

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  • Thank you so much. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough reputation to upvote. I can hope that my reformulation becomes its own aphorism, however! – ProfessorE Jan 15 at 12:46

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