A growing amount of evidence suggests that the cytosolic translation of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins and their subsequent import into mitochondria are tightly coupled in a process termed cotranslational import. In addition to the original posttranslational view of mitochondrial protein import, early literature also provides both in vitro and in vivo experimental evidence supporting the simultaneous existence of a cotranslational protein-import mechanism in mitochondria. Recent investigations have started to reveal the cotranslational import mechanism which is initiated by transporting either a translation complex or a translationally competent mRNA encoding a mitochondrial protein to the mitochondrial surface. The intracellular localization of mRNA to the mitochondrial surface has emerged as the latest addition to our understanding of mitochondrial biogenesis. It is mediated by targeting elements within the mRNA molecule in association with potential mRNA-binding proteins.