gtk stock items are not just for icons, they have stock labels associated with them too
usually you can set those labels to show through instead of having to write your own labels and more importantly instead of having to translate our own labels.
so for example the menu item "File, Exit" could instead allow the stock Quit label to show through.
the benefit of this is GTK and these stock labels are already translated and it saves translators a lot of extra work (each individual translator is saved only a little work but if you consider that across all of Gnome and GTK apps it really adds up)
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