The Saccharomyces cerevisiae YDJ1 gene encodes a yeast homologue of DnaJ, an Escherichia coli molecular chaperone and regulator of Hsp70 function. We examined the function of Ydj1p in vivo by analyzing the activity and production of firefly luciferase (FFLux) and green fluorescent protein (GFP) after inducible expression in yeast strains containing a wild type or a mutant YDJ1 gene. Although FFLux and GFP mRNA levels were similar in the wild type and mutant strains, the FFLux protein was translated about half as efficiently in the ydj1-151 mutant compared to the wild type strain; the lower FFLux level was not the result of increased FFLux turnover in the mutant. In contrast, GFP translation was significantly delayed in the ydj1-151 mutant compared to the wild type strain. Surprisingly, we observed that FFLux and GFP mRNA bound efficiently to polysomes in the ydj1-151 mutant. Analysis of polysome profiles also revealed a modest increase in the amount of 60S ribosomal subunits in the ydj1-151 strain, consistent with a translation defect in the mutant, although the Ydj1 protein was not found to be associated with polysomes. To determine whether the inducible expression of an endogenous yeast protein was also less efficient in the ydj1-151 strain, we examined the inducible synthesis of the yeast TATA-binding protein (TBP) but observed no translation defect. Statistical analysis of the FFLux, GFP, and TBP encoding genes suggests that Ydj1p facilitates the expression of proteins that are poorly translated because both FFLux and GFP contain an abundance of codons that are rarely used in yeast.