Analysis of chromosomal translocation sequence locations in human lymphomas has provided valuable clues about the mechanism of the translocations and when they occur. Biochemical analyses on the mechanisms of DNA breakage and rejoining permit formulation of detailed models of the human chromosomal translocation process in lymphoid neoplasms. Most human lymphomas are derived from B cells in which a DNA break at an oncogene is initiated by activation-induced deaminase (AID). The partner locus in many cases is located at one of the antigen receptor loci, and this break is generated by the recombination activating gene (RAG) complex or by AID. After breakage, the joining process typically occurs by non-homologous DNA end-joining (NHEJ). Some of the insights into this mechanism also apply to translocations that occur in non-lymphoid neoplasms.