"Efficiency is important."
Translation:Det är viktigt med effektivitet.
Effektivitet är viktigt is also a perfectly acceptable sentence. However, we like to use the formal subject det in order to change the word order of the sentence, and in those cases, the preposition med tends to appear very frequently, so this is a very typical Swedish construction.
With value judgements, very often one wants the information structure to be like this: I want to tell you that something is X, and that thing is Y. In English, you often do this by saying things like 'It's important to have/be …', so the same phenomenon occurs for you too.
Generally, the information principle is to mention previously known things first, and new things later. For similar reasons, in cases with value judgements of this kind, the information that you want to convey is not primarily that 'efficiency is important', it is that 'it is important for there to be efficiency', if you can feel the difference.
The Swedish sentence is the base sentence. In this case the closest possible English counterpart would probably be as it is above, since you would probably not say It is important with efficiency in English, and if we'd translate it as It is important to be efficient, we would have kept the word order, but added too much of something else.
Could we translate it into: "What is important is efficiency."? Sorry for my English...
I wrote a new comment below, half an hour ago...
That one would be Det som är viktigt är effektivitet. There's a difference in meaning between those two too.
Effektivitet är viktigt works the same way as Det är viktigt med … – you get a general statement, so it turns into the neuter form. In the definite, we'd always stick to common gender for common gender words: Effektiviteten är viktig – here we're talking about some specific efficiency.
You can be sure it's a general statement if you have a singular noun with no article and no other modifier. If you have some modifier that anchors it, it will be gendered again: Projektets effektivitet är viktig. So basically it's because any undefined singular noun will be interpreted as a general statement.
In short: a "general statement" is a sentence with a single, unmodified noun, all such sentences are "general statements", and all words in such sentences are treated as neutral?
No, it's an en word. Effektivitet är viktigt. is a construction used to say that efficiency is important in general.
Hej! Do we have to use this construction for other words too? I mean, for example, "Det är viktigt med säkerhet", "det är viktigt med kärlek", "det är viktigt med utbildning" osv?
I believe so yes. If you read Arnauti's comment above, he explains it in greater detail.
Thank you. I needed to use Google translate to help me a little, because Arnauti's explanation was very long. I understand better now. :)