When one builds and another tears down, what do they gain but toil?: After someone tears down what another has built, there is nothing left, but there has been a lot of work to get nothing. Good News Translation does well here, but some may be more comfortable expressing this rhetorical question as a statement; for example, two possibilities are:
• When one person builds and somebody else tears down, nothing has been accomplished but hard work.
• … they gain nothing from their hard work.
Quoted with permission from Bullard, Roger A. and Hatton, Howard A. A Handbook on Sirach. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2008. For this and other handbooks for translators see here.