I just looked up the translation of the German expression jemanden zur Rede stellen. The one translation for that expression I found was to take someone to task.
I use the German expression to describe a situation where you ask someone to justify himself/herself. It usually (but not necessarily) involves a feeling of stress to the person who is asked, because he/she has to justify a decision or action. When this expression is used, it often involves an uncomfortable atmosphere.
The confusion stems from the English expression, which in my opinion would literally mean that I take someone and assign to him a task. While in German it is more like you make someone talk, in English it seems to mean to make someone do a task.
Where does that expression come from?
When can it be used the way I described it for German? I.e. to ask someone questions/make someone justify himself/herself.