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Australian lawyers with multilingual talents are out there, and in greater number than you might think. So who are these people who have mastered more than Latin and legalese in this ever-increasing globalised world?

Emerging economies in the Middle East and Asia are encouraging big firms to think about how they should adapt their model for international business. And with multinational companies looking to build their global talent pools, the business case for speaking at least two languages is becoming increasingly strong.

According to the 2016 Census, 21 per cent of Australians speak a language other than English at home. The most common languages spoken after English (72.7 per cent) are Mandarin (2.5 per cent), Arabic (1.4 per cent), Cantonese (1.2 per cent), Vietnamese (1.2 per cent), Italian (1.2 per cent), Greek (1.1 per cent) and Hindi (0.7 per cent).

While linguistic diversity is testament to multicultural Australia, it doesn’t necessarily mean professionals are poised to engage with other regions in a business context as effectively as they could. But things are changing.

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