Regulation of protein synthesis is of fundamental importance to cells. It has a critical role in the control of gene expression, and consequently cell growth and proliferation. The importance of this control is supported by the fact that protein synthesis is frequently upregulated in tumor cells. The major point at which regulation occurs is the initiation stage. Initiation of translation involves the interaction of several proteins to form the eIF4F complex, the recognition of the mRNA by this complex, and the subsequent recruitment of the 40S ribosomal subunit to the mRNA. This results in the formation of the 48S complex that then scans the mRNA for the start codon, engages the methionyl-tRNA and eventually forms the mature 80S ribosome which is elongation-competent. Formation of the 48S complex is regulated by the availability of individual initiation factors and through specific protein-protein interactions. Both of these events can be regulated by post-translational modification by ubiquitin or Ubls (ubiquitin-like modifiers) such as SUMO or ISG15. We provide here a summary of translation initiation factors that are modified by ubiquitin or Ubls and, where they have been studied in detail, describe the role of these modifications and their effects on regulating protein synthesis.