The ability of mammalian cells to respond rapidly to stress through global suppression of translation has mainly been attributed to inhibition of translation initiation. However, these papers show that pausing of ribosomes during elongation has an important role. These studies used deep sequencing of ribosome-protected mRNAs or ribosomal footprinting in cells that were subjected to heat shock or proteotoxic stress. In response to both types of stress, the authors found widespread pausing of ribosomes early in elongation and showed that chaperone proteins are involved in regulating this pausing.