I've always been bothered by how people say the translation of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is terrible and full of errors, and the number one thing they point to for the error part of the argument is this sentence. Link for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNKzzSxhLqs

The closest equivalent I can come up with is "What are you doing here?" To my knowledge, this doesn't change the meaning of the question at all; the only difference is the tense of the verb. I can't for the life of me parse exactly where they both fall, my best guess is that "are you doing" is present continuous and "do you" is simple present, but my English education never went into verb tenses this deeply. It also never went over archaic uses of words, which I strongly suspect the line in question to be.

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    I agree with you. "What do you here?" is incorrect, except possibly long in the past; I assume the translator is not a native speaker of English. Or maybe they are trying to suggest that the character in Castlevania is not a native speaker of English.
    – GEdgar
    Jul 2, 2022 at 0:59
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    Jul 2, 2022 at 2:03
  • I don't know the work, but "what do you do here" to me means "what is your job or role here?" while "what are you doing here" is asking why the person is in this location right now. Jul 2, 2022 at 2:47
  • I could go with "What doest thou here?" (eg AV, Job 9:12) but the original seems a grotesque mixing of non-contemporary styles. Jul 2, 2022 at 11:28
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    "What do you here?" sounds in the same antiquated or quasi-antiquated register as "Why say you so?" "When go you thither?" and "How came you thence?" But perhaps it is an accurate representation of the cadences used by native speakers of Castlevanian and by CSL visitors. The relevant question, it seems to me, is, "How speak they there?"
    – Sven Yargs
    Jul 3, 2022 at 7:52

3 Answers 3


This sounds like a consciously archaic usage for "What are you doing here?"

This Ngram shows the decline in usage of what mean you? for what do you mean?. The recent ones are mostly reprints of older works, such as the following in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus:

Vintner: What mean you, sirrah?

Robin: I'll tell you what I mean.

We also see, in Wyatt's 16th century poem They flee from me

Dear heart, how like you this?


"What do you here?" is "What do you do here?" without do-support. In the latter do is used as an auxiliary, not that which indicates the action. This kind of construction is very common in the King James Version of the Bible, and probably other texts written in Early Modern English, in which both sentences with or without do-support are.


"Have you any questions?" which equals "Do you have any questions?"

"Ask not what your country can do for you..." which equals "Do not ask what your country can do for you..."


As i saw the clip you added, it seems to me that its just spelling mistake. "What do you here" is definitely not correct. It should be either "hear" or "what do you do here".

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