Why is “What does she have?” Translate to “Qu’est ce qu’ elle a?”...and not “ Qu’est ce que elle a?”
The word "Elle" after "Que" begins with the same vowel "e". Typically, when this occurs, saying "que elle" does not make sense, since it sounds odd. So, using a contraction after "qu" and combining "elle" to get "qu'elle" is how you would write that statement.
I'm not the best at explaining these things, so I apologize!
Because the word "elle" starts with a vowel, you have to change the word que to be shortened, since there are two vowel sounds between them, for shortness, as my French teacher has said. Here is another example; L'étudiant (la étudiant, except shortened because of two vowel sounds) Another example; A tout a l'heure (Even though there's an h, h's are silent in French, and the vowel e applies here
Consider Je aime (I like). It is J'aime because Je ends with a vowel and aime begins with a vowel so you shorten to J'aime (replacing the omitted letter with an apostrophe). Another example is C'est (it is). Ce followed by est. Shorten by missing out the e at the end of Ce and replacing with an apostrophe. We have the same thing in English.