Ce faci = What are you doing or How are you?
I was told by a native that Ce faci meant "What are you doing?" but I was just watching Nico's videos on youtube and she says it means "How are you?". I thought "How are you?" was Ce mai faci.
It means both! Ce faci literally means What are you doing? But a lot of people us it to say "how are you" the reason why you would say Ce mai faci is so you don't get confused.
However, if we were to literally translate "how are you" it would be "Cum esti" which I think is correct it's just that no one really says "Cum esti"
That's honesly hard to wrap my head around. How do you know if someone means "how are you" or "what are you doing"? I mean those two are completely different things that can be used in the same context. If you're texting someone for example, that person could be asking either one, so how would you know?
As a beginner stick with the following and you'll be right most of the time:
Ce faci? = What are you doing?
Ce mai faci? = How are you?
Ce faci [insert adverb of time here]? = What are you doing ...? (always)
Adding an adverb of time removes any possibility of interpretation. "Ce faci acum / azi / la noapte / etc.?" never means "How are you?". It means "What are you doing now / today / tonight / etc.?"
When "Ce faci? = "How are you?"
Sometimes natives just feel like being creative and use "Ce faci?" instead of "Ce mai faci?" Or simply they do not pay attention. Or it may happen that, let's say, you're calling someone whom you know he's not the talkative type (he hardly talks) and instead of asking the normal "Ce mai faci?", you will ask "Ce faci?" hoping to get from them more than the usual "Bine." So if you would have asked him "Ce mai faci?" you would have been replied "I'm fine.", but if you ask him "Ce faci?" you would find out more, like "I'm watching x movie on tv." You weren't necessarily interested in what he was doing moments before you called, in fact you wanted to ask "How are you?", but from the tone and other cues he gives you will find out more about his general state of being than from the two-syllable answer.
When "Ce mai faci?" = "What else are you doing?" (this requires context else)
Normally, "mai" in "Ce mai faci?" implies a notion of time. That basically means "What is your state of being over a period of time?"
But if, let's say, someone already told you he will be doing a, b, and c in the course of the day, perhaps answering to a "Ce faci?" question, and you ask him at some point "Ce mai faci?", he may answer d, e, f. Here it is implied "Ce altceva mai faci?"
"Ce mai faci [insert adverb of time here]?" = What else are you doing ...? (always)
Again, adding an adverb of time removes any possibility of interpretation. "Ce mai faci acum / azi / la noapte / etc.?" never means "How are you ...?". It means "What else are you doing now / today / tonight / etc.?"
There might be other situations, but this should be enough for now. In time, you will get them. Context helps a lot. When in doubt, just ask for clarification.
James Corden had Sebastian Stan on his show in mid-2016 and Seb was just constantly playfully flirting with Sharon Stone. It got to the point where Corden asked Seb how he would "ask Sharon Stone on a date in Romanian", and Seb smoothly asked "Ce faci?" to which Sharon then replied, "Would you bite me in the neck?"