One common need since forever is to change just a few strings on the site. For example, change 'blog' => 'journal', 'forum' => 'discussion board', and so on.
today our solution is to create a new variation on english language and transate a few strings. this results in loads of DB queries for just a small need.
this lets admin setup a $t_pairs array in settings.php which hard codes a set of string replacements. if present, t() uses this array instead of consulting the database.
note that this same technique applies to url aliases. one step at a time ...