A growing body of evidences indicate that deregulation of translation contributes to tumourigenesis. In tumours, alterations of translational control of specific mRNAs encoding oncogenes or tumour suppressors have been extensively reported. Moreover, restricting the rate of protein synthesis has been shown to delays tumourigenesis in C-Myc overexpressing or PTEN deleted mice models. Finally, the specific inhibition of RNA polymerase I (RNA pol I) has been shown to kill cancer cells without affecting normal cells. It thus emerges that a tight coordination between the rate of global protein synthesis and a defined translational program is required to prevent tumour development. In this review, we expose the evidences supporting that p53 acts as a translational regulator. In addition, this review discusses the notion that the ability to maintain both a selective translational program and a low level of protein synthesis could directly contribute to the p53 tumour-suppressor activity.