Translational regulation plays an essential role in many phases of the Drosophila life cycle. During embryogenesis, specification of the developing body pattern requires co-ordination of the translation of oskar, gurken and nanos mRNAs with their subcellular localization. In addition, dosage compensation is controlled by Sex-lethal-mediated translational regulation while dFMR1 (the Drosophila homologue of the fragile X mental retardation protein) controls translation of various mRNAs which function in the nervous system. Here we describe some of the mechanisms that are utilized to regulate these various processes. Our review highlights the complexity that can be involved with multiple factors employing different mechanisms to control the translation of a single mRNA.