As a central node of protein synthesis, the cap-binding complex, eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4 F (eIF4F), is involved in cell homeostasis, development and tumorigenesis. A large body of literature exists on the regulation and function of eIF4F in cancer cells, however the intracellular localization patterns of this complex are largely unknown. Since different subsets of mRNAs are translated in distinct subcellular compartments, understanding the distribution of translation initiation factors in the cell is of major interest. Here, we developed an detection method for eIF4F at the single cell level. By using an image-based spot feature analysis pipeline as well as supervised machine learning, we identify five distinct spatial patterns of the eIF4F translation initiation complex in human melanoma cells. The quantity of eIF4F complex per cell correlated with the global mRNA translation activity, and its variation is dynamically regulated by cell state or extracellular stimuli. In contrast, the spatial patterns of eIF4F complexes at the single cell level could distinguish melanoma cells harboring different oncogenic driver mutations. This suggests that different tumorigenic contexts differentially regulate the subcellular localization of mRNA translation, with specific localization of eIF4F potentially associated with melanoma cell chemoresistance.