Creativity according to translation theories is, according to Carter, best seen as constituents of a cline (Julian Huxley: a gradation of subspecies over a spread of categories) with gradations inclining between texts that are more or less literary and creative.
In the inherency model, the creativeness of literary language, or language undergoing translation, is a feature that is inherent within literariness. This indicates that the source text must be paramount in translation objectives so translations contain closely the same inherent literariness.
In the sociocultural model, literariness, or the creativeness of literary language, is determined by social and cultural factors. This means that creativity is tied closely with the culture of the source and will be equally closely tied to the culture of the target. Therefore translation will focus on the social and cultural factors of the target so that the effect and sense of the source are carried over though the specifics may not be.
In the cognitive model, literary language is noted for its effect on mental processes. In accord with Formalist literary theory, literary language is said to enhance the way we see the world we live in (for better and for worse, depending upon the literary piece). Thus creativity arises from the vision and image of reality that is imparted (this is equally true, according to Carter, for everyday language that also undergoes "play" in the Derridan sense). This suggests that the source is again a paramount focus so the particular play and effect is continued in the target text.
"Carter (1999) sees some value in both 'inherency' and 'sociocultural' models: in the case of his own examples verbal art is identified formally, and in this sense is close to an inherency model. Nevertheless, one way to find examples of verbal art in his corpus is to search for instances of laughter. This focus on what people respond to as artful is consistent with a sociocultural model. In his view, cognitive model is beneficial in that it can help explain the prevalence of creativity in everyday language. His main argument is that literariness is best seen as a cline, or a series of clines: it is appropriate to see texts as more, or less, literary rather than in terms of an opposition between literary and non-literary language." (Andrew Yau-hau Tse, "Which One is more Literary--A Speech or a Visitor's Guide?" Universiti Malaysia)
The inherency model of translation described by Carter describes literariness as embedded in language so that language properties are different from practical language use. The sociocultural model in contrast sees literariness as culturally and socially created. The cognitive model relates literariness to cognitive processes that are affected by but different from inherent, social and cultural factors.