Hypoxia selectively enhances mRNA translation despite suppressed mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 activity, contributing to gene expression reprogramming that promotes metastasis and survival of cancer cells. Little is known about how this paradoxical control of translation occurs. Here, we report a new pathway that links hypoxia to selective mRNA translation. Transglutaminase 2 (TG2) is a hypoxia-inducible factor 1-inducible enzyme that alters the activity of substrate proteins by polyamination or crosslinking. Under hypoxic conditions, TG2 polyaminated eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-bound eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding proteins (4EBPs) at conserved glutamine residues. 4EBP1 polyamination enhances binding affinity for Raptor, thereby increasing phosphorylation of 4EBP1 and cap-dependent translation. Proteomic analyses of newly synthesized proteins in hypoxic cells revealed that TG2 activity preferentially enhanced the translation of a subset of mRNA containing G/C-rich 59UTRs but not upstream ORF or terminal oligopyrimidine motifs. These results indicate that TG2 is a critical regulator in hypoxia-induced selective mRNA translation and provide a promising molecular target for the treatment of cancers.