"They are girls."
Translation:De är flickor.
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Well, technically, "flicka" is simply a maiden - an unmarried girl/woman of any age.
Furthermore, "min flicka" could actually be used to mean "my girlfriend", but that may be a bit old-fashioned. I think of soldiers who has to leave their girls, as the song goes: "Han sa till sin flicka: du, jag kommer igen".
You can't really substitute them. åäö are letters like any other in Swedish, they are not versions of any other letters. Unlike in German, they have their own place in and dictionaries and in the alphabet. When people don't have a Swedish keyboard, they sometimes write a and o, or sometimes aa, ae and oe, but there's no standard for how to do this.