when translating the question "Où vas-tu ?" it means "where are you going?"

"Où" alone means "where" , "vas" alone means "going" , and "tu" means "you"

why do we add "-" between vas and tu ?

which word in the question refers to "are" ?

  • When you say "I am going", it translates to "Je vais". Now where's the "are"? – Nathan Feb 7 '18 at 23:16

The "-" is mandatory when the subject is a pronoun and the subject and the verb are inverted because of the interrogative form:

Que fait-il ? Que manges-tu ? Qui êtes-vous ?

"Vas" does not mean "going" alone, there is not necessarily a one-to-one match between each word of a sentence in English and its translation in French. "Vas" is the verbal form in "où vas-tu", so it carries the same meaning as "are going" in English.

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