I believe the translation is proper; the usage would be a part of normal literary expression. We have to remember to greater context concerning Solomon’s purpose in the Book of Ecclesiastes.
13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all
things that are done under heaven. This sore travail hath God given to
the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
Solomon was on a quest to search out all things done under the sun to find the answer to all the inequity that he saw upon the earth. Solomon was on a personal quest and he searched the earth trying different ways of life to find meaning and peace for his soul.
He then started his search and tried different behaviors to find meaning. In chapter 2 he tries wisdom, wine and labor. After he tries labor he looks now in “another direction” to find another work to try. Look at Ecclesiastes 2:12, note the word “turned”.
11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on
the labor that I had labored to do; and behold, all was vanity and
vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. 12 Then I
turned myself to behold wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the
man do that cometh after the king? Even that which hath been already
In verse 12 he states that he turned (Hebrew Panah “to turn”) himself, meaning that he left labor and turned to find another behavior/work to invest himself into.
This would be the same principal seen in Chapter 4:1.
So I returned and considered all the oppressions that are done under
the sun: And behold, the tears of those who were oppressed, and they
had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power,
but they had no comforter.
The word “returned” here is the Hebrew shawb which mean to “turn back” or “face away”. The idea here is the same as in chapter 2 verse 12; he faces/turns away from one behavior and looks to another one to try or gains ("sees") more understanding. Note the next two usages.
Same word returned (shawb) in verse 7.
7 Again I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun:
Again in Chapter 9 verse 1:
11 I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the
swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise,
nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill;
but time and chance happeneth to them all.
All verses KJV21