Loro che cosa vogliono qui?

really want to know why “vogliono” here translated as “do”. if tatoeba marked here as the source of this sentence again, why "want " became “do”? is tatoeba with this switch of words now a main source of knowledge? how does this work? do random people just go there and do the words switcheroo?

From Tatoeba it seems the English sentence is:
What do they do here?

I imagine, considering all linked translations of this sentence contain “vogliono”, it has been interpreted as “What are they doing here?”, which seems to match the sentiment of the Italian translation a lot better in my opinion (more of a “Why are they here?” “What do they want here?”).

While Tatoeba is more about providing translations of the sentiments of the sentence, rather than a literal translation, and as such for a sentence like “What are they doing here?”, you could indeed find a corresponding Italian translation along the lines of “What do they want here?”, I think there might have been some incorrect linking going on here, I don’t know if @morbrorper could help with this?

Since it does seem to me that the original sentence has been provided by a native English speaker (American English), I guess it might have been intended more as a “What is their role here?” kind of sentence, in which case I would indeed expect an Italian sentence along the lines of “Loro che cosa fanno qui?”.

Would definitely be curious to hear thoughts from others here on the English and Italian side.


I have left a comment on the sentence. That’s about all I can and should do, not being a native speaker of either language.

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Ed è stata una decisione molto diplomatica!


Thanks, I’m still not even sure if I can comment, I guess I haven’t dared try yet, because I still feel to unfamiliar with the overall workings of Tatoeba.

After a bit more snooping, I did find that there is an original English sentence, which is “What are they doing here” (at least, that is my take-away from the side-blurb in the Logs: “This sentence is original and was not derived from translation.”), which does indeed have the expected corresponding Italian translations using the gerund:
Option 1:
Cosa stanno facendo qui?
Option 2:
Loro cosa stanno facendo qui?

And interestingly, under translations of translations, it shows our “What do they do here” sentence (whose corresponding sentence page is here), and another translation, which again to me means something quite different “What are these doing here?” (whose corresponding sentence page is here). This latter sentence can at least be semi-related to the “What are they doing here?” sentence, where “they” can refer to both people and objects, whereas “these” suggests just objects (but both are again of the type of “Why are they here”, though for objects of course the “vogliono” translation would not be applicable).


Just a thought. In Italian they say “Tomorrow I go to Rome”, not I am going to Rome. Could it be something similar with this frase “What do they do here?” rather than “What are they doing here?”

@Floria7, are you thinking of the process of thought that led up to the translation?

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Hi. Probably yes. I have heard “vogliono” used as in this Cloze frase but just can’t think where.


I would be interested to hear though what your interpretation as a native English speaker (if you indeed are) of this English sentence would be? Though I guess it could still differ from an American English interpretation.

To me it feels more like “What is their role here?”, rather than “What are they doing here?”.

Perhaps I was thinking along the lines of “che cosa vuole dire?” - “what does it mean?”

I tend to go for “What do they do (their role) here” but the vogliono is still a puzzle /what do they want here). Yes, me native English speaker, I forget to mention that;-) More later…