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In an opinion piece about recent criticism towards China, Hu Xijin wrote:

再有就是特朗普公开针对中国撒弥天大谎,向中国推卸他们抗疫失败的责任,居然在美国能够玩得转。是什么把美国公众搞得这么好骗,一眼就能看穿的甩锅把戏却有声有色地一集一集表演着,在美国也太容易带节奏了。
刷新认知,美国的人命竟然这么“不值钱”, 胡锡进, 2020年04月30日

It means something like:

Next, we have Trump's public focus on China, saying a pack of lies, shifting to China their epidemic-response failed responsibility, unexpectedly in the USA ... 玩得转 (?). What caused the USA public to be deceived? One glimpse and you can see that this pass-the-buck trick is but one dazzling performance after another. In the USA it's too easy to follow the rhythm.

I don't understand 玩得转, and there's other examples on YouDao, e.g.:

他不一定能在NBA玩得转
Not sure he can play.

你看,各种黑客我都玩得转
Because, you see, I do all the hacker stuff.

It might be some kind of Internet slang; there's other such terms in this article. If I were to guess, I'd say it means "do the rounds", e.g., in English we might say "this meme is doing the rounds" meaning it is being popularized on the Internet.

Question: What does ...玩得转 mean?

  • It's pretty much "work it out" or "get away with it". This term seems to come up around 2000s dot com boom so probably it comes from HK or Taiwan. – user3528438 May 3 at 16:35
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'玩得转' means you make something is working well as you wish, despite the sophisticated circumstances.

You can imagine the objective perceive as a gear structure to turn around. If the gears get stuck, you can't turn them into the rotary statues as normal, which means it's not working well in the way you like. Such situations can be called '玩不转'. Conversely, the gears are running well can be called '玩得转'.

In the context above, people believed what Trump said which means Trump's words panned out well. Otherwise, if the public didn't convince by his story, it means Trump failed in this matter. The former refers to Trump '玩得转', and the latter means Trump '玩不转'.


Here are some examples:

  • 当市场都被大公司垄断时,小公司还能玩得转吗?
    When the market is monopolized by big companies, will the small companies survive? (or still running well?)
  • 想玩得转自媒体,得先学会写好文案
    If you want to be a good self-media, a good composition should comes first.
  • 《大数据入门宝典》——新手也能玩得转
    《Big Data 101》, even a novice can pull it off
  • 一个人只要有实力,哪里都玩得转
    A man can live well under any circumstance as long as he's solid enough.

Sometimes we just use '玩转', this is more like 'play'. It means to fully appreciate and discover something's many charms

  • 看我带你玩转北京
    Let me be the tour guide, bring you to discover Beijing's sceneries, snacks, malls, etc.
  • 玩转英语
    Play around with English, which means studying English in fun ways, at least not so serious, maybe with an ease mood or interesting content.
  • 玩转现金流
    Play with cash flow, which means adept at the knowledge of cash flow, including what is it, how to exert it well, and so on.

These kinds of wording often occur in advertisement or promotion copywriting.


Negative expressions:

  • 想让老人玩得转手机很难,他们玩不来的
    It's difficult to have the old learning how to use a cell phone, they can't make it. (Sometimes, 玩不转 ≈ 玩不来 ≈ 用不来 ≈ 不会用 )
  • 他的那一套在这个行业是玩不转(行不通)的
    His little trick won't succeed in this line of business.
  • 这个软件是专门给程序员用的,一般人玩不转的
    This software is designed for programmers, most people can't master it.
  • 我就知道你在政坛玩不转的
    I knew you can't get along all right in political circles.

To sum up, succeed in achieving or winning something difficult means '玩得转', otherwise means '玩不转'

If you get a full understanding on what I'm saying, you‘re really '玩得转' this issue:)

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In your example, "玩得转" means "Trump's method is widely accepted in the United States, so his plan was very successful ".

"玩转" often means "do sth. well" or "understand sth. well"

Example: How to take photographs well(如何玩转摄影)

Let you understand all things about Shanghai well with me(带你玩转上海)

And it is a Internet slang!

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玩得转 is a very informal word we may use in spoken Chinese. This word means you are good at sth or have a skill dealing with sth or dealing with some people. It's like for a professional basketball player, he can switch around NBA, CBA or any other worldwide basketball league if he wants to, then we may say 他玩得转(在篮球领域).

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玩得转 means make it work. 玩不转 means unable to make it work. Both 玩得转 and 玩不转 are common colloquially. E. g. 没他我玩不转。// I can't make it without him.

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